A new NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll confirms that Donald Trump and the Republican Party are both viewed very negatively by Latino voters. Nearly three in four Latinos say they have a negative view of Trump, with 67 percent saying their view is “very negative.”
This is very bad news for Republicans going into the 2016 elections. Latino voters will be the deciding factor in swing states, and the battle for control of the Senate. Latinos made up about 10 percent of the electorate in the 2012 presidential race. Mitt Romney received only 27 percent of the vote, compared to 71 percent who supported Barack Obama. This was a major factor in Romney’s loss.
Other Republican presidential candidates fare better with Latinos than Trump, but barely so. Bush essentially breaks even with twenty nine percent feeling positive about him compared to twenty seven percent who view him negatively. Carly Fiorina was viewed positively by eighteen percent of Latinos whereas eleven percent viewed her negatively. Forty-six percent, however, did not know enough to have an opinion. Ben Carson had a nineteen percent positive rating and sixteen percent negative. Forty two percent of Latinos knew nothing about Carson, who ranks second in the polls.
In contrast, the Democratic Party gets relatively good marks from the rapidly-growing Latino community. Forty-eight percent of Latinos have a positive view of the Democratic Party, while only 19 percent say they have a negative view of it. And twice as many Latinos say they’d like to see a Democrat in the White House in 2017. Fifty one percent prefer a Democrat and only twenty four want a Republican.
The Democratic Party’s leading candidates are viewed far more positively. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has a net positive rating of twenty nine percent. Vice President Joe Biden, who has not announced, also has a net positive of twenty nine percent. Vermont senator Bernie Sanders has a net positive of eighteen percent but a third of Democrats do not know enough about him to have an opinion. President Barack Obama is the most popular politician among Latinos with a net positive rating of thirty eight percent.
Republicans have lost ground with Latino voters over the last year. In September 2014, eight percent of Latinos viewed the GOP very positively compared to six percent now. Last year, twenty three percent viewed the Party very negatively compared to twenty five percent now. Still, the GOP is slightly less hated now than in 2012.
The Republican Latino problem is a result of their policies, platform, and rhetoric—mostly rhetoric. As a Party, they have blocked immigration reform; they are opposed to giving legal status to Dreamers; and they have remained silent when some Republicans have made vicious and vitriolic statements about Latinos.
This problem is more serious when one considers that some Republicans have been bashing Muslims and attacking Asians. They have already lost African-Americans, possibly forever. It appears that Republicans have decided to be a regional party and a party of white men. Given changing demographics, if the Republican Party does not change, it will be irrelevant in ten to fifteen years. That does not seem to bother many GOP candidates today. They have decided to live for today and stop thinking about tomorrow.