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New Poll: What Latino Voters Heard from Trump’s Nativist Immigration Speech in Arizona

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America’s Voice commissioned Latino Decisions to do a quick poll to gauge Latino voters’ reactions to Donald Trump’s immigration speech last week in Phoenix, and to assess whether Latinos were buying the charade of Trump “softening” on immigration.

The short answer is no.  Forty-nine percent of Latino voters believe he has the same position now as before, while 30% believe he has hardened it in recent days.  Only 22% believe that Trump has changed his position for the better, and just 17% plan to vote for him in November.

Meanwhile, 79% of Latino voters think Trump is not making a real play for African-American and Latino votes; 82% think his meeting with the president of Mexico was a “campaign stunt” rather than a “serious effort to develop a good relationship with Mexico”; and 81% believe the American people are “angrier and more divided on immigration and racial issues because of Donald Trump’s campaign.”

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, said: “This poll proves that the jig is up for Trump with Latino voters.  He’s performing at historically low rates, they don’t like his policies, and they rightly blame him for fostering an anti-immigrant and anti-Latino climate.  Trump may think he’s talking in code, but Latino voters can decipher his meaning.”

David Damore writes up these and others findings on the Latino Decisions website, analysis we also include below (of note, this new polling gauging reaction to the Trump speech is separate from statewide Latino polling to be released tomorrow on press calls/webinars).

Read David Damore of Latino Decisions: “Translating Trump: When He Talks Immigration, What Latino Voters Hear” and check out the findings on the Latino Decisions website, here.

“In recent weeks media reporting has been rife with speculation that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was ‘pivoting’ away from the harsh immigration policies and anti-immigrant language that have been the hallmark of his presidential campaign.  Yet, as last week’s speech in Arizona—delivered hours after a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto—revealed, there is no kinder and gentler Donald Trump lurking under that comb over.  Instead, Trump doubled-down on the rhetoric and policies that have him poised to receive the least amount of support from Latino voters of any Republican presidential candidate in modern American political history.

LD 1

While the fact that so many analysts and pundits are still willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt is a topic for another day, one group of voters who were not fooled by the “Trump is pivoting” narrative were Latinos.  In the immediate aftermath of Trump’s visit to Mexico and his speech in Arizona, America’s Voice and Latino Decisions conducted a poll of 500 Latino registered voters to assess what these votes hear when Trump talks immigration [to access the toplines and crosstabs click here].  The online poll was conducted between September 2nd and September 6th in English and Spanish and has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points.  In what follows, I highlight some of the poll’s key findings.

LD 2

In the Arizona speech, Trump stated that if he was elected president the only way that undocumented immigrants living in the United States could ever obtain legal status is for them to “return home and apply for reentry like everybody else.”  However, just 21% of respondents agree that Trump is interested in creating a fair and practical immigration system.  In contrast, 79% think that Trump’s real goal is to deport immigrants and refuse to let them back in.

LD 3

The poll also presented respondents with some of Trump’s immigration tweets (“We must stop the crime and killing machine that is illegal immigration. Rampant problems will only get worse. Take back our country!” and “I love the Mexican people, but Mexico is not our friend. They’re killing us at the border and they’re killing us on jobs and trade. FIGHT!”), followed by a prompt asking respondents if Trump really means “make America great again” or “make American hate again.”  Among those answering the question, 27% chose “make America great again,” while 73% opted for “make American hate again.”

LD 4

In response to a question asking about Trump’s visit to Mexico where he called Mexican President Peña Nieto “a friend” and said that he wants to work to make both Mexico and the United States stronger, only 18% think that the trip was a serious effort to develop a good relationship with Mexico and its leaders.  In contrast, 82% of respondents saw the Mexico trip as a campaign stunt.  More generally, the same share of respondents (82%) feel that Trump’s campaign talk and policy views make them fear for the future of their families and the country.  Just 18% think that Trump has the best interests of their family and country in mind.

In sum, perceptions of Donald Trump among Latino voters are well solidified and any efforts in the closing weeks of the campaign to reposition the Republican nominee on immigration are likely to be viewed as nothing more than a campaign stunt.  Little wonder that only 17% of Latino voters indicated in the poll that they will support the Republican candidate.  Instead, the vast majority (72%) will be supporting Hillary Clinton this November.”