US News and World Report
By Gabrielle Levy
September 2, 2016
Donald Trump had made little headway in swinging Latino voters to his side, even when he appeared to be moderating his stance on immigration.
A new poll released Friday by Latino Decisions found just 15 percent of Latino voters said they were certain to vote for the Republican nominee, with another four percent who said they were uncertain but leaning toward Trump.
By comparison, Democrat Hillary Clinton has the certain support of 61 percent of Latinos nationwide, with another 10 percent who are leaning her way.
Trump still lags far behind his predecessor, 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who won 27 percent of Latinos, compared to President Barack Obama's 71 percent.
While Trump's poor showing is not surprising – in fact, it's a small improvement from Latino Decisions' poll in April when 11 percent said they were inclined toward Trump during the primary – it came at time when Trump had given his Hispanic supporters reason to believe he was listening to their concerns.
The survey was taken from Aug. 19 to Aug. 30, during which time Trump hinted he might no longer seek to deport 11 million immigrants from the U.S. Following a meeting with Hispanic leaders on Aug. 20, he began to emphasize his intention to ensure his immigration policies would be "humane," and seemed to be softening his rhetoric.
But Trump's speech Wednesday night – when he again vowed to remove anyone in the U.S. illegally and insisted that Mexico would pay for a wall – had some of his prominent Latino supporters feeling betrayed. Several of those high-profile Republican Latinos who had previously supported Trump said they would no longer vote for him.
By Thursday, Trump backtracked again, telling Fox News host Bill O'Reilly he might focus only on immigrants who had committed crimes, getting the "bad players" out first before reassessing how to deal with others who don't have legal permission to stay in the U.S.
"After that takes place, we are going to sit back, we're going to assess the situation, we're going to see where we are because we will have people in the country that have come in the country illegally," he said. "We're going to sit back, we're going to assess the situation, we're going to make a decision at that time."
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