New polling of Colorado Latino voters, conducted by Latino Decisions and commissioned by America’s Voice, makes clear that immigration matters to Colorado Latino voters; that Donald Trump is deeply unpopular with Latino voters; and that the Republican Party’s brand image is deeply damaged and getting worse, due in part to Trump’s rise and the politicized U.S. v Texas Supreme Court case.
Among the key findings:
Immigration Matters to Colorado Latino Voters – It’s Personal: When asked the open-ended question, “what are the most important issues that you think Congress and the President should address,” Colorado Latino voters ranked immigration first at 34%, economy/jobs second at 30%, then health care at 17%, and education at 15%. However, when asked “what are the most important issues facing the Latino community that you think Congress and the President should address?”, Colorado Latino voters ranked immigration first at 37%, followed by the economy/jobs (21%), education (17%), health care (15%), and anti-Latino or anti-immigrant discrimination (10%). The polling underscores the fact that Latino voters have a personal connection to the immigration debate – 60% of Colorado Latino voters know someone who is undocumented; 44% of Colorado Latino voters know someone who has faced deportation or detention for immigration reasons; and 42% know someone who has applied for DACA.
Donald Trump and His Anti-Immigrant Views Are Incredibly Unpopular with Colorado Latinos: Despite growing speculation that Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is trying to appear as a more “disciplined” candidate in preparation for a possible general election candidacy, the new Latino polling numbers makes clear the extent of the challenge Trump and the Republican Party will have in trying to reverse the damage inflicted by Trump’s anti-immigrant campaign. In the new polling, 91% of Colorado Latino voters have either a “very” or “somewhat” unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump (85% “very unfavorable”), as compared to just 7% of who view him as “very” or “somewhat” favorable – meaning that his net favorability is underwater by 84 percentage points. Trump’s views on mass deportation make Colorado Latino voters “less likely” to vote for Trump, rather than “more likely,” by an 84%-8% margin. And when asked to gauge Donald Trump’s views on immigrants and immigration on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being the most anti-immigrant and 10 being the most pro-immigrant, 75% of Colorado Latino voter respondents ranked Trump as a 1, the most extreme anti-immigrant ranking.
The Republican Brand with Colorado Latino Voters is Deeply Damaged – with Donald Trump Helping to Dig a Deeper Hole: 3-of-4 Colorado Latino voters say the Republican Party “doesn’t care too much about Latinos” (50%) or that the GOP is “sometimes hostile towards Latinos” (25%), while just 13% say the Republican Party “truly cares about the Latino community.” Additionally, when Colorado Latino voters are asked if the GOP has, in recent years, become more welcoming to Latinos, more hostile to Latinos, or has not really changed, 45% say the Republican Party has become more hostile, 9% say the Republican Party has become more welcoming; and 38% say no change. Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s views on immigration are taking a toll on the larger GOP brand – 80% of Colorado Latino respondents say that Trump’s views on immigrants and immigration make them “less likely” to vote Republican this November.
The Republican Presidential Nominee Could Underperform Mitt Romney’s Performance Among Colorado Latinos from 2012: When asked candidate head-to-head matchups between the parties’ leading presidential contenders, Colorado Latino voters prefer Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 79%-10% margin, and Clinton over Ted Cruz by a 66%-24% margin. Bernie Sanders similarly is favored over Trump by a 82%-11% margin and over Cruz by a 66%-24% margin. In 2012, Colorado Latino voters ended up supporting President Obama by a 85%-11%margin over Mitt Romney in the 2012 general election, according to Latino Decisions Election Eve polling (75%-23% among Colorado Latinos in 2012 media-sponsored exit polls).
The Political Impact of the U.S. v Texas Ruling Will Matter this November: The polling also showed that Colorado Latino voters will punish the Republicans for opposing executive action and reward the Democrats for defending it. Per the new polling, knowing that Republican presidential candidates want to end DAPA, the 2014 executive action that would protect the undocumented parents of American children, makes Colorado Latino voters “less likely,” rather than “more likely,” to vote for the Republican Party this November by a 76%-12% margin in the case of DAPA. Similarly, knowing that Republican presidential candidates want to end DACA, the 2012 executive action that protects Dreamers, makes Colorado Latino voters “less likely,” rather than “more likely,” to vote for the Republican Party this November by a 77%-11% margin. Meanwhile, knowing that Democratic presidential candidates want to continue DAPA and DACA makes Colorado Latino voters “more likely,” rather than “less likely,” to vote for the Democratic Party this November by a 77%-12% margin in the case of DAPA and a 75%-14% margin in the case of DACA.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Immigration is of course a major issue for Latino voters, as is concern over the economy and jobs. By asking the ‘most important’ issue question in two different ways, the polling helps remind us that these issues are ‘both/and’ concerns for Latino voters, not ‘either/or’ issues. This election cycle has injected immigration into the national political debate in an unprecedented way and this polling brings home in stark reality the fact that Latino voters feel personally targeted by Donald Trump and the Republican Party as a whole. The numbers do not bode well for the Republicans and the vision of the inclusive party they had hoped to build post-2012.”
According to Gabriel Sanchez, Principal of Latino Decisions, “Colorado is a key battleground state in this election cycle, and it’s one where Latinos will play a dominant role. What we’re seeing in Colorado, and reflected nationwide, is that Donald Trump and the rhetoric surrounding immigration this cycle is making it almost impossible for Latino voters to support Trump or his fellow Republican candidates. As immigration has been thrust into the spotlight, Latino voter enthusiasm has spiked and voting has become extremely personal—and that is driven largely by an interest to stop Trump. That being said—candidates who are on the right side of the issue must continue to define their positions with the Latino community, because despite the record unfavorables we’re seeing toward the Republican Party, we’ve seen candidates fail to engage the Latino community before and leave valuable votes on the table.”
According to Alvina Vasquez, State Director of Colorado’s Voice,“Colorado is a purple state because of the large impact Latino voters have on the outcome of elections. There are huge implications on national issues when candidates ignore Latino voters. The 2014 election proves that. It cannot happen again. This polling shows that this year Latino voters are very aware of who will help them build a path to success, and those who will continue to create obstacles.”