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Warning Sign for GOP: Donald Trump Driving Away Florida Latino Republicans

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With conservative and Republican elites battling over whether or not to rally behind Donald Trump as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, it’s important to take a look at what’s happening among the voters they purport to represent.

Two new polls in South Florida and fresh commentary from Latino Republicans about Trump underscore that the drop-off among some core Republican voters is both real and attributable to Trump’s anti-Latino and anti-immigrant candidacy. As leading observers are highlighting, putting Florida in the Democratic column instead of the swing state column would make the electoral map look all the more difficult for Republicans.

poll of Miami-Dade County, Florida voters by Bendixen & Amandi International for the Miami Heraldel Nuevo Herald, WLRN and Univision 23 in Florida, finds that Hillary Clinton leads a potential general election matchup against Donald Trump by a 52-25% margin among Miami-Dade County voters. According to Census data, the county is two-thirds Hispanic. Especially troubling for Republicans’ presidential prospects is the poll finding that 20% of Miami-Dade County Republican voters support Clinton: among the GOP respondents in the poll, Trump leads by a 48%-20% margin, with 32% undecided.  As pollster Fernand Amandi said of the finding, “If [Hillary Clinton] gets 20 percent of Republican voters statewide, it’s going to be a very early night on November 8.”

recent poll of Miami-Dade County’s Cuban-American voters, conducted by the Republican pollster and Florida International University professor Dario Moreno, finds that this traditionally Republican group of voters only backs Trump over Clinton by a narrow 37%-31% margin. According to Moreno, the margin is “the lowest in history that any potential Republican candidate polls among this traditionally loyal demographic [to Republicans].

The Miami-Dade County polling results add additional context to the recent statewide polling of Florida Latino voters, conducted by Latino Decisions and commissioned by America’s Voice, which found that Florida Latino voters prefer Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 69%-18% margin, largely because of immigration. A whopping 84% of Florida Latino voters have either a “very” or “somewhat” unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump (73% “very unfavorable”), as compared to just 12% of who view him as “very” or “somewhat” favorable – meaning that his net favorability is underwater by 72 percentage points among statewide Latino voters. Trump’s views on mass deportation make Florida Latino voters “less likely” to vote for Trump, rather than “more likely,” by an 75%-10% margin. The Latino Decisions polling also found that Trump’s views on immigration are taking a toll on the larger GOP brand – 68% of Florida Latino respondents say that Trump’s views on immigrants and immigration make them “less likely” to vote Republican this November.

Summing up the poll findings are some of the reactions from leading Latino Republicans, captured in a new Washington Examiner piece by David Drucker, “Trump Faces Stiff Opposition from Hispanic Republicans.” The article includes the following comments from Rosario Marin, who served as U.S. Treasurer under President George W. Bush:

“I have been a Republican in places not easy to be a Republican … have fought for my Republican principles, I have fought hard to register Latinos as Republicans — to run as Republicans. And, here comes along this man who doesn’t represent any of that. And I’m supposed to support him? No … We have put a lot of people in different states where there are a significant number of Latinos, that are becoming growing bloc, that could actually tilt the election. The party put in resources and people in there. Here’s comes this little orange man and all that work is for naught. You have no idea how devastated I am, because I know what it means for the future of the Republican Party.”