Last year, during the early days of the presidential campaign, Donald Trump boldly promised, “I’m gonna win the Hispanic vote.”
The past few days have suggested he was wrong. After Trump’s immigration speech focused on deporting millions of unauthorized immigrants and building a wall at the US–Mexico border, several of his top Latino advisers resigned or threatened to resign. And a new, huge survey shows Trump isn’t just losing the Latino vote — he’s losing it by far more than the past few decades of Republican presidential candidates.
The survey, by America’s Voice and Latino Decisions, found that if the election were held today, 70 percent of registered Latino voters would vote for Hillary Clinton. Only 19 percent would vote for Trump. About 2 percent said they won’t vote for president, 4 percent said they’d vote for someone else, and 4 percent said they’re undecided or don’t know.
The findings are quite credible: The survey was huge, reaching 3,729 Latino registered voters online and by phone between August 19 and 30. It has a margin of error of 1.6 percentage points.
The findings are incredibly damning for Trump. To put this in context, this means that the Republican Party and Trump have effectively eliminated any gains the party made with Latino voters under President George W. Bush, who supported immigration reform that would have allowed unauthorized immigrants to gain legal status.
In 2000 and 2004, Bush got 35 and 40 percent of the Latino vote. That was up from the share of the vote that Ronald Reagan (35 and 37 percent), George H.W. Bush (30 and 25 percent), Bob Dole (21 percent) got. It was also higher than what John McCain (31 percent) and Mitt Romney (27 percent) got in subsequent elections.
Trump’s numbers, then, are below the previous six Republicans to run for president. And they’re especially low at a time when the Latino population has grown — from 14.8 million people in 1980 to 55.2 million in 2014.
As for why Trump has so little support among Latino voters, it’s basically what you'd expect: 70 percent said that Trump has made the Republican Party more hostile to Latinos. And 68 percent said that Trump’s views on immigrants and immigration made them less likely to vote for Republicans in November.
Meanwhile, 75-plus percent of Latino voters said President Barack Obama’s actions on immigration — such as letting undocumented immigrant youth stay in the country — made them more likely to vote for Democrats. And 64 percent said Hillary Clinton’s views on immigrants and immigration made them more likely to vote for Democrats.
So Republicans seemed to be on a downward trend with Latino voters after George W. Bush. But with Obama, Clinton, and Trump, that slide seems to have sped up by quite a bit.