Big Surprise: Hispanic Voters Can’t Stand Donald Trump
Policy + Politics

Big Surprise: Hispanic Voters Can’t Stand Donald Trump

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Donald Trump’s claim that he would win the Hispanic vote in a presidential election has always seemed a bit absurd, given that he launched his campaign with an attack on Hispanic immigrants and hasn’t taken his foot off the gas since, with calls for a border wall, mass deportation and an end to the Constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship.

A new Gallup poll released Tuesday, though, shows just how far the real estate billionaire and current frontrunner for the Republican nomination really is from that particular goal. Among Hispanic voters, Trump’s favorability ratings are incredibly bad. This should surprise nobody, but the degree to which he has separated himself from the rest of the GOP pack in the race to completely alienate the fastest-growing segment of the American electorate is really pretty impressive.

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Among the U.S.-resident Hispanic adults surveyed by Gallup, 79 percent said they know who Donald Trump is, and 65 percent held a negative view of him. Another way of putting that is that within the universe of Hispanics who know who Trump is, he has an 82 percent disapproval rating.

Gallup and other pollsters like to report on “net” favorability, which subtracts the percentage of people with an unfavorable view of a candidate from those with a favorable view to come up with an overall number. Trump’s net favorability with U.S. Hispanics is -51 percent. That’s not just bad, but incredibly bad. The next-worst contenders, former Texas governor Rick Perry and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, are both at -7.

Being seven times as unpopular with Hispanics as the next-worst contender in a Republican presidential primary might not be fatal, though it probably is. But it’s an absolute death sentence in a general election.

Far at the other end of the spectrum is the man Trump has spent much of the past few weeks abusing in speeches and social media posts, former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Bush enjoys a +11 net favorability with Hispanics, though he has sharply lower name recognition than Trump, a problem that applies to every candidate in the field.

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Among the 57 percent of respondents who said they were familiar with Bush, 34 percent reported favorable feelings toward him, and 23 percent reported unfavorable feelings.

Among Republicans, wrote Gallup’s Lydia Saad Trump’s low popularity among Hispanic voters “doesn't seem to be tarnishing the rest of the Republican field.”

However, she noted, recent comments by Bush defending his use of the term “anchor babies” to refer to children who receive birthright U.S. citizenship when born to undocumented parents occurred after the poll was completed.

“As of mid-August, Bush's image among Hispanics had improved as Trump's immigration positions dominated the news. With Hispanics constituting only a small fraction of the Republican Party, this has not boosted Bush's favorable rating -- which has been fairly flat all summer among the Republican base. But, unless his "anchor babies" comment derails him, Bush's recent jockeying with Trump could help warm Hispanic voters to him in the general election should he capture the nomination.”

On the Democratic side, when it comes to favorability ratings with Hispanic voters, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton is even further ahead of her competitors than Trump is behind his. Clinton enjoys a 40 percent net favorability rating with Hispanics. That’s eight times better than her closest rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is currently at +5. Clinton, of course, has far better name recognition than Sanders and the rest of the Democratic field.