Donald Trump’s corrosive xenophobic rhetoric on immigration is eating away at the Republican Party’s image with Latino voters. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll released on September 30th, finds that Trump and the Republicans are very unpopular with Latino voters, while Democrats are very well liked by Latinos.
The Republican Party didn’t start alienating Latinos with Donald Trump’s toxic brand of know nothing nativism. Latino voters have been abandoning the Republican Party for over a decade, as the staunch anti-immigration wing of the GOP has drowned out the voices of moderation in the party.
In 2004, George W. Bush garnered a respectable 44 percent of the Latino vote. Four years later, John McCain could only manage to get 31 percent of the Latino vote, and by 2012, Mitt Romney got just 27 percent. Romney’s poor showing led Republicans to conduct a post-election autopsy to discuss re-branding the party, in order to win back a share of the Latino vote. Analysts argued that the GOP would need around 40 percent of the Latino vote to win a general election.
However, instead of following their post-election prescription for winning back Latino voters, the GOP has tacked in the opposite direction, with Republican voters rallying to support Donald Trump’s campaign. Trump’s outlandish rhetoric, calling Mexican undocumented immigrants criminals and rapists, has helped him with white GOP voters, but it is killing the Republican brand with Latino voters.
72 percent of Latinos have a negative opinion of Donald Trump, compared to just 11 percent who view him positively. His ridiculous (-61) favorable rating is 99 percentage points worse than President Barack Obama’s 59-21 (+38) positive approval rating. Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are also viewed positively by Latinos.
If Republicans need around 40 percent of the Latino vote to win the White House, they aren’t going to be able to do it with Trump at the top of the ticket. In head to head match-ups, Trump gets crushed badly by Clinton (72-17), Sanders (71-17) or Biden (72-18).
Other Republicans fare better than Trump, but the entire party is in deep trouble with Latino voters. While Democrats are viewed favorably by a 48-19 margin, Republicans are under water with just 24 percent of Latinos viewing the party positively, compared to 43 percent who have a negative opinion of the GOP.
While the GOP’s xenophobic immigration stance as exemplified by Trump’s position is the biggest obstacle to winning over Latino voters, it is by no means the only one. For example, Latinos overwhelmingly support legislation protecting the rights of gays and lesbians by a 57-17 margin, and they oppose (42-32) more restrictive laws against abortion. The GOP’s extremism on social issues is nearly as damaging as their hard line stance on immigration.
With Donald Trump leading the GOP clown car, and other Republican candidates mimicking his positions on many crucial issues, the Republican Party has kissed the Latino vote good bye in 2016. That farewell kiss is tantamount to political suicide in a general election.