Latino support for Trump catches some off guard

Attendees cheer as President Donald Trump arrives for a Latinos for Trump Coalition roundtable campaign event at Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Monday, September 14, 2020. (Photo: NYTimes)
Even as Latino voters played a meaningful role in tipping the Senate and the presidency to the Democrats last year, former president Donald Trump succeeded in peeling away significant amounts of Latino support, and not just in conservative-leaning geographic areas, according to a post-mortem analysis of the election that was released Friday.اضافة اعلان

Conducted by the Democratically aligned research firm Equis Labs, the report found that certain demographics within the Latino electorate had proved increasingly willing to embrace Trump as the 2020 campaign went on, including conservative Latinas and those with a relatively low level of political engagement.

Using data from Equis Labs’ polls in a number of swing states, as well as focus groups, the study found that within those groups, there was a shift towards Trump across the country, not solely in areas like Miami or the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where the growth in Trump’s Latino support has been reported.

Ultimately, Trump outperformed his 2016 showing among Latino voters, earning the support of about 1 in 3 nationwide, even as President Joe Biden won those voters by a roughly 2-1 margin overall, according to exit polls.

All told, close to 17 million Latino voters turned out in the general election, according to a separate analysis published in January by the UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative. That represented an uptick of more than 30 percent from 2016.

With the coronavirus pandemic and the related economic downturn taking center stage on the campaign trail, Equis Labs found that many Latino voters — particularly conservatives — had focused more heavily on economic issues than they had four years earlier. This helped Trump by putting the spotlight on an issue seen as one of his strong suits and by drawing attention away from his anti-immigrant language.

Chuck Coughlin, a Republican pollster in Arizona, said he was unsurprised by the results of the report. He said the Trump campaign’s messaging on economic and social issues had resonated for many Latino voters. “They’re pro-business. They’re pro-gun. They don’t like higher taxes. They don’t trust the government,” he said. “It’s the same constituency that you see among Anglo Trump voters.”