Wall Street Journal
By Arian Campo-Flores
February 25, 2016
As the Republican presidential candidates prepare to square off Thursday night in a debate focusing on the concerns of Hispanic voters, a new poll shows front-runner Donald Trump with abysmal ratings among that demographic group.
The Washington Post-Univision News survey found that 80% of Hispanic registered voters had an unfavorable view—and 72% a very unfavorable view—of Mr. Trump, who has taken a hard line on illegal immigration and made comments about Mexicans that were considered disparaging. Those figures mark a decline for Mr. Trump from last summer, when a Univision poll found that seven in 10 Hispanic voters had a negative view of the billionaire businessman and six in 10 had a very unfavorable impression.
The survey highlights a challenge the GOP faces in the fall if Mr. Trump secures the party’s nomination. If such numbers hold, he could fare significantly worse among Latinos than the GOP nominee in 2012, Mitt Romney, who captured only 27% of the Hispanic vote. That means Mr. Trump would have to make large gains among white voters and others.
The U.S.’s changing demographics further complicate things for Republicans. A report released Tuesday by a trio of policy groups found that growing numbers of young minorities and the aging of baby boomers favor Democrats this year. If turnout rates and party preferences for age and racial groups remain the same as in 2012, those demographic forces alone would increase Democrats’ winning vote margin to 4.8 percentage points in 2016, from 3.9 points in 2012.
This fall, 13.1 million Hispanics are projected to cast ballots, according to an analysis by the Naleo Educational Fund released this week. That would mark a 17% increase from 2012, when 11.2 million Latinos voted.
After winning the Nevada caucuses on Tuesday, Mr. Trump boasted of entrance polls that showed him winning the Hispanic vote there. But some analysts noted that the sampling error was large and that only a tiny slice of Republican voters in the caucuses were Hispanic.
The new Post-Univision poll—which surveyed 1,200 Latino registered voters —paints a much bleaker picture for the New York billionaire. Mr. Trump had a net unfavorable rating of 64%, far worse than any other candidate. By comparison, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio had a net favorable rating of 8%. On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders each drew net favorable ratings of 37%.
In a match-up against Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump would lose among Hispanics 73% to 16%, the poll found. Mrs. Clinton led Mr. Rubio by 30 percentage points, Mr. Cruz by 38 points and Ohio Gov. John Kasich by 43 points.
Among the Hispanics surveyed, immigration was the second-most-important issue, after jobs and the economy. Eighty-two percent said they wanted the next president to support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and 43% said they wouldn’t consider casting a ballot for a candidate who opposes such a policy. Asked about Mr. Trump’s views on immigration, 74% said they found them offensive.
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