Hillary Clinton maintains a nearly 50-percentage-point lead among Hispanic voters in a new Washington Post-Univision News poll, with Donald Trump’s deep unpopularity raising questions about how much his candidacy has hampered Republicans’ long-term chances to win back support from the nation’s largest minority-group voting bloc.
Clinton is seen unfavorably by 28 percent of Hispanics, but 76 percent of them have unfavorable views of Trump — including 64 percent whose views are “very unfavorable,” which is 20 points higher than those who have very unfavorable views toward the Republican Party overall.
The poll finds opportunity for Republicans to expand support, with 51 percent of Latinos who support Trump now or say they would be willing to vote for a Republican presidential candidate in the future. But simply nominating candidates other than Trump probably will not be enough. Republicans may need to revamp the party’s stances on several issues to overcome Hispanics’ strong Democratic tilt, the poll shows.
In one sign of those broader difficulties, other Republicans up for election this year also trail Democrats by a wide margin: 66 percent of Latinos say they support a Democratic congressional candidate in their district, compared with 24 percent who support GOP candidates.
In the presidential race, over two-thirds of Hispanics who are likely voters (67 percent) support or lean toward Clinton, with just under 2 in 10 (19 percent) supporting Trump, according to the poll, conducted Oct. 26 to 30. Four percent support Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and 2 percent are for the Green Party’s Jill Stein, the poll finds.
Trump’s 48-point deficit against Clinton is just a few points behind 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s 44-point losing margin among Hispanics, according to exit polling that year. That year’s losses prompted calls by party leadership to redouble efforts toward courting Latino voters, in order to stay competitive in presidential races with a racially diversifying electorate.
A similar Post-Univision poll in February found Clinton with 73 percent support among Hispanic registered voters and 16 percent for Trump. In July 2015, 70 percent said they would vote for Clinton and 16 percent for Trump — signaling little movement over the presidential campaign cycle.
[Among Democrats, deep concern about Clinton’s Hispanic strategy]
This year’s election is viewed as more important than previous contests by 78 percent of Hispanic likely voters, and overall enthusiasm remains high. Almost 8 in 10 (78 percent) say they’re enthusiastic about voting, with 58 percent “very” enthusiastic about voting.
Knowing that she had strong support among Hispanics starting in the primary season, Clinton’s general-election campaign adopted an aggressive bilingual, digital-first general outreach strategy that targets younger Hispanics on Facebook, Snapchat and other digital platforms with predominantly English advertising. In more recent months, the campaign has started airing Spanish-language television and radio ads in parts of Florida and Nevada.
That bilingual focus prompted a flurry of criticism of Clinton’s and the party’s Hispanic strategies. Despite a uniquely favorable environment with Trump’s repeated attacks on undocumented immigrants, Democrats openly fretted this fall that Clinton was neglecting a long-standing party goal of marshaling the nation’s growing Hispanic population into a permanent electoral force.
Those concerns struck at the heart of a debate among Hispanic operatives about how much emphasis should be placed on newer ways of reaching younger Hispanics, who like millennials overall are more resistant to backing Clinton than older Latinos.
But the new Post-Univision poll suggests the Clinton team’s strategy may be working. A 66 percent majority of Latinos younger than 35 support Clinton, compared with 71 percent of seniors — a nearly even margin. A national poll of Hispanic voters conducted this fall by the Pew Research Center found a sizable age gap among the broader population of registered voters, with younger Hispanic voters less supportive of Clinton than their elders.
[From Sept.: Clinton’s lead among Hispanics not as big as you might think ]
There’s also evidence that the Clinton campaign’s focus on shoring up support among English-dominant Hispanics was prudent. The poll found a big gap between respondents who chose to be interviewed in Spanish rather than English. Clinton garners 60 percent support among Latinos who prefer English, compared with 79 percent of those who prefer Spanish. Trump receives 23 percent support among those interviewed in English but only 11 percent among Spanish-speaking respondents.
Hispanic likely voters, like American voters overall, are most likely to say that jobs and the economy are the most important issues in deciding their vote for president (28 percent). Among Hispanics in this poll, that is followed by immigration at 15 percent. Education, health care and terrorism all tie for third place at 8 percent each.
Among the four presidential candidates, Clinton fared far better than Trump on all questions of who is best equipped to handle various issues, including the economy (60 percent), immigration (66 percent), health care (64 percent) and terrorism (62 percent). Asked which candidate is closer to their opinion on the issues in general, 65 percent said Clinton, compared with 17 percent for Trump.
While Clinton has fallen behind Trump among Americans overall on questions of trust, among Hispanics in this poll she scores 37 points higher than Trump on honesty: 53 percent to 16 percent.
The Democratic Party comes out far more favorably than the Republican Party among Hispanic likely voters — 71 percent have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party, with 42 percent “very favorable,” while just 27 percent have a favorable opinion of the GOP, with only 11 percent “very favorable.”
Hispanics also give high marks to President Obama, who earns a 76 percent favorability rating, with 50 percent “very favorable.” Clinton is seen as favorable by 69 percent of Hispanics, with 43 percent rating her very favorably. Just 20 percent have a favorable opinion of Trump; 76 percent see the GOP nominee in a negative light.
Independent Latinos favor Clinton over Trump by a wide margin, 54 percent to 22 percent, while 8 percent choose Johnson and 3 percent pick Stein. That is a big factor hurting Republicans: 57 percent of Latinos identify as Democrats in this poll, making independents represent the biggest pool of potentially persuadable voters.
Trump also lacks unity among Latino Republicans, with 70 percent supporting Trump compared with 88 percent of Latino Democrats who back Clinton. By contrast, in congressional races, 86 percent of Republican Latinos support the party’s candidate in their district; 90 percent of Latino Democrats support their party’s congressional candidate.
The Post-Univision News poll was conducted by landline and cellular phone from Oct. 26 to 30 among 1,008 Hispanic likely voters in the United States, in both English and Spanish. Results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Sampling, data collection and tabulation were done by Bendixen & Amandi International with the Tarrance Group.
Scott Clement contributed to this report.