Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 24 points among likely Hispanic voters in Florida, according to a new poll that shows a significant number of Republican Latinos are unsure of their nominee for the White House.
Clinton’s 54-30 percent lead over Trump with Hispanic voters stands in marked contrast to the U.S. Senate race, where bilingual Republican incumbent Marco Rubio is ahead of Democratic U.S. Rep Patrick Murphy by 48-39 percent, a TelOpinion Research survey conducted for the conservative-leaning Associated Industries of Florida business group shows.
Clinton’s huge advantage over Trump is buoyed by strong support among Democrats (whom she carries 75-13 percent) and independents (among whom she wins 61-20 percent) in the poll of 600 likely Latino voters. Trump’s 63-19 percent lead over Clinton among Republican Hispanics could be much bigger, but 14 percent are undecided. That’s double the number of undecided Latino Democrats.
Those numbers worry Republicans because the polls show Trump is already under-performing 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s final margins with Florida Hispanics — yet there’s a month of campaigning left and Clinton is outgunning Trump in paid Spanish-language TV ads that are playing in heavy rotation in the Miami area.
“While Clinton has a substantial lead in the top lines, the real data point we would point out is the number of undecided Republicans. If they come home to him, it’s possible that Trump will perform closer to Romney’s number with Florida Hispanics in 201,2 which was around ~40%,” Ryan D. Tyson, AIF’s vice president of political operations, wrote in a memo obtained by POLITICO Florida.
“However, the positive outlook ends for him there as Trump is down ~44% with non-Cuban Hispanics who will make up half of the likely Hispanic electorate,” Tyson wrote. “Trump will not win Hispanics here in Florida. However, if he can drive closer to 40%, then it’s possible other factors could come into play that could keep this state competitive for him (i.e. Democrats experience a dip in minority voter turnout and/or continue to struggle with millennials).”
Trump has struggled with Cuban-American Republican leaders in Miami-Dade County, where 53 percent of the Florida GOP’s 501,000 Republican Hispanics lived as of the Aug. 30 primaries. Numerous Cuban-American leaders, offended by Trump’s rhetoric over immigration reform, have refused to endorse him, while Rubio has also kept his distance. Miami-Dade was the only Florida county Trump lost — to Rubio — in the state’s March 15 presidential preference primary.
Rubio and other Cuban-American leaders have been at pains to defend Trump after Newsweek revealed that his hotel and casino company used a consultant to circumvent the Cuba embargo in 1998. Support for the embargo is waning, but concentrated among the very Cuban-American Republicans Trump needs to turn out in force for him to keep Clinton’s margins down.
Another plus for Clinton: the number of registered Hispanics grew from 13.9 percent of the total electorate in 2012 to 15.4 percent of the 12.4 million registered Florida voters as of the Aug 30 primaries. Since then, a coalition of liberal and pro-immigration groups say they’ve registered thousands more Latinos.
The AIF poll has nearly identical results to a Florida Latino voter survey conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International and the Tarrance Group last month for Univision. That poll showed Clinton with a 24-point margin as well, leading Trump 53-29 percent.
Other polls also show Clinton is not just polling well with non-white voters, Trump is doing worse with white voters compared to Romney four years ago in Florida. Recent surveys show Clinton is starting to pull ahead in Florida as a result.
“We’re where we need to be with Latinos already,” a senior Clinton official told POLITICO Florida. “Trump is way below where he needs to be.”
Among Latinos in the TelOpinion/AIF poll, Clinton is seen as someone who cares more about people like them by a 29-point margin over Trump. They see her as better able to manage the economy than Trump (13-point margin) and would protect senior citizens more (38-point margin). Trump beats Clinton in one area: as someone who would secure the borders and strengthen national security (5 points). The poll, conducted Saturday through Monday, has an error-margin of 4 points.
“What’s important to keep in mind in these results is that 51% of those voters we surveyed said improving the economy and creating jobs was the most important issue to them when deciding their vote in the election,” Tyson said in his memo. “While Trump has a slight advantage in national security, the issue clearly doesn’t resonate enough with these voters to overcome their negative sentiments of him.”