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Republicans’ Latino Voter Problems Go Deeper Than Donald Trump Alone

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Last week, we released new nationwide polling of Latino voters, conducted by Latino Decisions and commissioned by America’s Voice, that revealed that Donald Trump is unbelievably unpopular with Latino voters and that, with Trump at the top of the ticket, the GOP looks poised for a historically low performance with Latino voters this November. The poll finds that 87% of Latino voters have either a “very” or “somewhat” unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump (79% “very unfavorable”), as compared to just 9% of who view him as “very” or “somewhat” favorable – meaning that his net favorability is underwater by 78 percentage points. Trump’s views on mass deportation make Latino voters “less likely” to vote for Trump, rather than “more likely,” by an 87%-7% margin.

Meanwhile, Trump’s views on immigration are taking a toll on the larger GOP brand: 78% of Latino respondents say that Trump’s views on immigrants and immigration make them “less likely” to vote Republican this November. As a result, the eventual 2016 Republican presidential nominee could very well underperform Mitt Romney’s historically-low performance among Latino voters in the 2012 election cycle.

However, the Republican Party’s problems with Latinos go much deeper than Trump alone and trace back to their stance and tenor on immigration (including the GOP’s role in the U.S. v Texas lawsuit). The polling showed that when knowing that Republican presidential candidates want to end DAPA, the 2014 executive action that would protect the undocumented parents of American children, Latino voters are “less likely,” rather than “more likely,” to vote for the Republican Party this November by a 74%-14% margin. Similarly, knowing that Republican presidential candidates want to end DACA, the 2012 executive action that protects Dreamers, makes Latino voters “less likely,” rather than “more likely,” to vote for the Republican Party this November by a 73%-12% margin.

The poll results match what many are seeing on the ground across the country as the 2016 campaign heads towards the general election. As Kate Linthicum wrote in a recent Los Angeles Times story titled, “More People Are Filing To Become Citizens in the Face of Anti-Immigration Politics,” the energy behind a Latino citizenship and voter registration drive in California comes from Trump, but also from the Republican Party-wide effort to block and overturn the immigration executive action policies at issue in the U.S. v Texas case, heard last week at the Supreme Court. As Linthicum notes:

“At a recent fair at the Long Beach Convention Center, more than 3,000 immigrants got free help filling out citizenship applications and practiced casting ballots at mock voting booths. Events like this almost certainly were not what Republicans intended when they blocked President Obama’s program to shield millions of immigrants from deportation. But the new nationwide push to help more than 8 million legal permanent residents become citizens — and therefore potential voters — is a direct consequence of Republican resistance to Obama administration immigration policies.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “The Republican Party’s brand with Latino voters is deeply damaged. Every time it seems as if it cannot get worse, it gets worse. Yes, Donald Trump puts the Republicans’ Latino problems into overdrive, but the GOP shouldn’t paper over the depth or source of this divide. The lurch to the right on immigration policy pre-dates Trump, and the damage it is causing will surely outlast the Trump candidacy.”