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New Polling Of Latinos: Trump Is Hated, The GOP Brand Is Damaged, And Latinos Are Fired Up

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NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo Latino Oversample is Bad News for Republicans 

Latino voter oversample of the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll confirms what many suspect: the virulently anti-immigrant campaign of Donald Trump is wildly unpopular among Latinos; the Republican Party’s image and prospects are in serious trouble; and Latinos are highly focused on the election even at this early stage of the 2016 cycle.

Here are some key takeaways:

Donald Trump is disliked, intensely: Only 11% of Latinos view Trump positively, with 3% viewing him “very positively”.  A whopping 72% view Trump negatively, with 67% viewing him “very negatively”.  To put it bluntly, most Latino voters hate Trump.

Trump – and the anti-immigrant GOP primary campaign – is not helping improve Republican favorability among Latinos: Only 6% of Latino respondents view the Republican Party very positively.  Historically, this is near the low-water mark.  As NBC News’s Carrie Dann writesin a polling recap: “The Republican Party is viewed negatively by a plurality of Latinos … More than four in ten have a poor impression of the GOP, compared to 24 percent who view the party positively.  In contrast, the Democratic Party gets relatively good marks from the rapidly-growing minority group.  Forty-eight percent of Latinos have a positive view of the party, while 19 percent say they have a negative view of it.”

Latino voters are angry and already engaged in the 2016 cycle: Despite it being more than a year before Election Day 2016, Latino voters are registering high levels of interest in next year’s election.  Currently, 56% of Latino respondents rated themselves as 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 regarding how interested they are in the 2016 elections.  At a similar point in 2012, just weeks before the presidential election, only 42% rated themselves as a 10 on the interest scale.

In potential 2016 general election head-to-head matchups, Republicans are falling far short of GOP’s needed 42-47% Latino voter thresholdAnalysis from Latino Decisionsconcludes that the 2016 Republican nominee will need to win between 42-47% of Latinos to win the 2016 presidential popular vote.  Yet the new NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll finds that GOP candidates are falling far short of that target threshold among Latino voters in a series of potential head-to-head 2016 election matchups.  Hillary Clinton is leading Donald Trump among Latinos by a 72%-17% margin, Carly Fiorina by a 68%-24% margin, and Jeb Bush by a 60%-32% margin.  And when matched up with Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders, Republican candidates similarly fall well short of the GOP’s 42%-47% Latino target in the new polling.

For all the wishful thinking among Republicans that Trump – assuming he somehow goes away – will not end up doing lasting damage to the GOP’s 2016 prospects, this poll should be sobering.  Trump is still the GOP frontrunner and is still talking about immigration.  In last Sunday’s “60 Minutes” interview, Trump endorsed the mass deportation carried out in the 1950s during the Eisenhower Administration and promised his mass deportation would be “humane.”  The Eisenhower program – called “Operation Wetback” – was, according to stories in today’s Washington Post and Huffington Post, anything but “humane.”  To make matters worse for the GOP, the rest of the Republican presidential field is getting caught in the toxic, anti-immigrant undertow, with contenders pandering to hardliners and tacking rightward on immigration.

No wonder Latino voters and Spanish-language media are paying close attention to the GOP campaign.  As Adrian Carrasquillo of Buzzfeed reported recently, “Spanish-language television giants Univision and Telemundo have given GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump more coverage than all of the other major [English language] broadcast networks combined.”  As leading Congressional immigration reform champion, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, recently stated: “The way we respond to racism is by voting and in Latino and immigrant communities, we are getting that message loud and clear.” And as Janet Murguía, the President and CEO of NCLR, recently wrote, “Latinos are responding against this demonization in the most American of ways: immigrants who are eligible are becoming citizens, and those who are citizens are registering to vote.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “It turns out that the GOP’s ‘outreach strategy’ to Latinos is a trifecta of trouble.  First your frontrunner slings racist insults at immigrants from Latin America.  Then he proposes radical policies aimed at forcibly expelling 25% of America’s Latino community.  And then the response from other GOP contenders and the GOP’s leadership is somewhere between ‘I’m with him’ to ‘I’m not going to stand up to him.’  In fact, except for a few prominent conservative commentators and thinkers speaking up in response to this threat to the Republican future, the GOP’s silence is deafening.”