That same poll also found Democratic nominee Joe Biden under-performing badly among Florida Latinos, with Trump leading among them by 50 percent to 46 percent, whereas Hillary Clinton won the demographic group in 2016 by 27 points.
By contrast, the NBC poll also found Biden tied with Trump among Florida seniors (a group Trump won by 17 points last time), and Trump leading Biden among whites by only 15 points (Trump won them by 32 last time).
But, fueling the angst, a new Bendixen and Amandi poll finds Biden and Trump almost exactly tied among Latino voters in Miami-Dade County, where Democrats must run up huge margins.
Meanwhile, a recent poll from the Democratic firm Equis Research with a huge Latino sample (1,000) found Biden ahead by 53 percent to 37 percent among Florida Latinos. That’s better, but it’s still not good enough.
Given that Barack Obama won Florida in 2008 and 2012, while Hillary Clinton lost it in 2016, the anxiety is perhaps understandable.
Greg Sargent: How serious a problem is this now?
Steve Schale: Statewide surveys that don’t over-sample the Latino community tend to demonstrate a lot of noise from poll to poll. Because the Florida Latino population is so diverse, one poll is going to show huge movement, another is not.
The best thing to look at is the poll by Equis. It shows Biden up 15 or 16 points up among Latinos. That’s a much more reasonable number.
But 15 or 16 is still definitely short of what you need, isn’t it?
There’s definitely work to be done in the Hispanic community.
Why is that happening?
Probably a mix of things. Because of the virus, the Biden campaign itself probably hasn’t completely ramped up the way they want to. They’re now spending pretty significantly in terms of outreach.
A lot of our research shows it’s not so much an anti-Biden or anti-Democrat or pro-Trump thing. It really is what we’ve seen in a lot of different communities: A need to do pro-Biden education work. We’re getting ready to do about $1.25 million just with non-Cubans in south Florida to help with that.
You mentioned that the Latino community in Florida is decidedly not a monolith. The reality is complicated.
Cuban voters have traditional Republican roots. In some of the Colombian, Venezuelan, El Salvadoran, Central American communities, there’s reassurance you have to do around socialism. A lot of Florida Hispanic voters are more culturally conservative than their Latino brothers and sisters out west.
The Marist poll [also had] almost an exact tie among seniors, and Trump only winning by 15 [points] among white voters.
My basic philosophy in presidential elections is that if Democrats get to 40 percent among whites in Florida, it’s pretty hard to lose. . . . If Biden keeps the white number where it’s at now, I think he’d win today.
Are you assuming Biden will be able to hold where he is among whites? With [the] coronavirus on the decline, and with urban unrest beaming into people’s living rooms, you could see an erosion.
You might. You might not. Poll after poll, public or internal, shows most people think Biden would do a better job keeping the country safe from unrest and keeping the country together.
Essentially, the big picture is that you need to try to hold white voters where they are and just do some repair work among Latinos?
I’m not even sure it’s repair work. A lot of it is just work. Traditionally here, you’d have four, five, six hundred volunteers on the ground. You’d be doing a lot of things that are harder if you’re trying to be responsible around the virus. More and more outside groups are increasing their spending, which is going to help.
While voters have a sense of Joe Biden at some level — they know he was vice president and know about his family — there’s real introductory work to do around his vision for America.
Some have pointed out that the outreach just hasn’t been there.
Even when Barack Obama was up really early with significant communication, there was also concern that we weren’t doing enough. Some of that is just endemic to Florida.
We’re in the window where we need to go do some work. I don’t necessarily disagree that the race is tied in Florida; I don’t think Trump’s winning among Latinos.
What’s the most realistic coalition to get Biden over the top? What percentage of whites and what percentage of Latinos?
Somewhere between Obama 2008 and 2012. We got 37 percent of whites in 2012 and 41 percent in 2008. We got 57 percent of Hispanics in 2008 and 61 percent in 2012. Somewhere between those two is where I would try to land the plane.
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