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As RNC Platform Embraces Trump’s Dark Immigration Vision, New Evidence that GOP is Alienating Growing Latino Electorate

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Today, the Republican National Convention Platform Committee is expected to finalize hardline language on immigration after a successful amendment push by the notorious anti-immigrant zealot and Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach. The platform language will underscore that the Republican Party has officially become the Party of Trump and is inextricably bound to his nativist and anti-Latino policy vision.

In the face of Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s hard-line drift on immigration, new Latino voter polling, as well as growing reports of energized Latino voter mobilization efforts in key states, highlight the dangers facing the GOP by charting a nativist course that so willingly flies in the face of America’s demographic trends.

New nationwide polling of Latino voters released yesterday, conducted by Latino Decisions and commissioned by America’s Voice, underscores that Donald Trump is on track for an historically low performance among Latino voters and that the overall Republican brand image among Latinos remains tarnished. Among its key findings:

Latino voters nationwide prefer Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 74%-16% margin. This puts Trump on track to underperform Mitt Romney’s historically poor performance among Latino voters in 2012, when Latinos supported President Obama by a 75%-23% margin over Romney, according to Latino Decisions 2012 Election Eve polling (71%-27% in media-sponsored exit polls).

Meanwhile, 77% of Latino voters say the Republican Party “doesn’t care too much about Latinos” (41%) or that the GOP is “sometimes hostile towards Latinos” (36%), while just 13% say the Republican Party “truly cares about the Latino community.”

Meanwhile, 77% of Latino voters say the Republican Party “doesn’t care too much about Latinos” (41%) or that the GOP is “sometimes hostile towards Latinos” (36%), while just 13% say the Republican Party “truly cares about the Latino community.”

By a margin of 46%-11%, Latinos say the Republican Party has become more hostile, rather than more welcoming, in recent years (36% say no change).

Both the 2012 immigration executive action program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the 2014 Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program enjoy the backing of more than 8-of-10 Latino voters – poll respondents support DACA by an 81%-13% margin and the DAPA program by a 83%-14% margin.

Notably, the new polling also found that Supreme Court vacancy and the recent Court deadlock in the U.S. v Texas case are shaping up as big 2016 issues for Latino voters – and further hurting the overall Republican Party brand among Latinos.

David Damore, a Senior Analyst at Latino Decisions and a Professor of Political Science at UNLV, summarized the results and implications as follows:

“While Donald Trump is extremely unpopular (with 78% viewing him either unfavorably or very unfavorably and just 16% indicating that they are likely to vote for him), his support for the U.S. v. Texas decision may hurt the Republican Party.  Among those sampled, 66% indicated that Trump’s position on the Court decision makes them somewhat or much less likely to vote for Republican candidates as compared to 21% who responded that Trump’s position would make them somewhat or much more likely to vote for Republicans in November.

Trump’s unpopularity with Latino voters and his response to the Supreme Court’s decision stands in stark contrast to Hillary Clinton. The former Secretary of State is viewed very or somewhat favorable by 63% of the Latino electorate and 74% responded that they are likely to vote for her this fall.  Clinton’s opposition to the Court’s decision also may help down ticket Democratic candidates as 62% of respondents indicated that Clinton’s response to U.S. v. Texas made them more likely to voter Democratic. In sum, the partisan politics underlying the U.S. v. Texas lawsuit and subsequent Supreme Court decision provide a salient reminder to the Latino community of what is a stake in 2016 and provide yet another example of the diverging paths that the parties and their candidates are taking with respect to immigration.”

The polling also found that the Supreme Court deadlock on U.S. v Texas made 54% of Latino voters more enthusiastic about voting in 2016 compared 2012. During the 2012 cycle, Latino Decisions pollsters asked a similar question, and enthusiasm among Latinos did not exceed 50% until the last week of October. Several news articles today further explore Latino voter enthusiasm, examining ongoing voter registration and mobilization work on the ground in Latino-heavy battleground states.

Wall Street Journal story by Beth Reinhard, Hispanics Register to Vote in Record Numbers in Key States, finds that:

“Hispanic voter registration is hitting record numbers in several key states, including battlegrounds like Colorado, at a time when polls show Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump struggling to gain traction with those voters … In three of the most competitive states in November—Colorado, Florida and Nevada—Hispanic voters make up growing, double-digit shares of the voting rolls … Hispanic voter rolIs are also swelling in Florida and North Carolina, two other key swing states that do identify voters by race and ethnicity.”

And leading Nevada journalist Jon Ralston checks in with a new assessment of the state’s latest voter registration numbers. While Ralston doesn’t explore the Latino voting community numbers specifically, Nevada Democratic candidates’ paths to victory are tied directly to Latino energy and mobilization efforts. As Ralston reports:

“Nevada Democrats continue to extend their voter registration advantage, not just statewide but in key political subdivisions, as GOP-aligned groups have been unable to slow the widening gap. When I last checked more than two months ago, the Democrats had a more than 64,000-voter edge in Nevada; it is now just under 70,000 voters. This remains well ahead of the pace in the last two presidential cycles.”


Read the poll toplines and access poll crosstabs at the Latino Decisions website

View the slide presentation from the national polling webinar and press call here

Read a blog post summary of the key polling findings from Latino Decisions Senior Analyst, Dave Damore here

An audio recording of the national polling press call is available here