US election polls: Trump is doing better than ever with Latino voters

US election polls : The president currently has the backing of 35 per cent of Hispanic voters under the age of 45, up from the 22 per cent who backed him four years ago

It was the man in the Stetson who was the most enthusiastic.

Election Night in Miami, 2016, and the Hispanics for Trump party at the Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine restaurant in the Doral district was in full swing.

Silvio Morraz, 51, a builder from Nicaragua, was dancing around the restaurant in his cowboy hat, waltzing with a lifesized cutout of Donald Trump – a man he described as “the new Reagan”.  

“He’ll build the wall, stop drugs, stop criminals,” he said. “I’m so happy.”

Four years later, and Mr Trump is hoping that the enthusiasm remains.

Signs are, it is even stronger.

The president currently has the backing of 35 per cent of Hispanic voters under the age of 45, up from the 22 per cent who backed him four years ago, according to the latest analysis of polls by FiveThirtyEight.com, published on Monday.

While it would be wrong to overstate the support for Mr Trump among Latinos, who nationwide back his rival Joe Biden two to one, the rising support for the president will provide some solace for his team, rattled by recent polls giving Mr Biden a 10 point lead.

And in states like Florida and Arizona, that swing in support could prove vital.

A record 32 million Hispanics are projected to be eligible to vote in 2020, a total that for the first time exceeds the number of Black eligible voters in a presidential election.

FiveThirtyEight’s analysis found that his support has risen the most among Hispanic voters with a four-year college degree.  

In 2016, he suffered a 53 point deficit with degree-holding Hispanics. In the last month, he was down by 39 points with these voters – a double-digit improvement from his previous polling.

And, while they only make up about two per cent of the population age 25 and older nationwide, they are disproportionately concentrated in Florida, home to 3.1 million registered Hispanic voters, and where 24 per cent of Hispanic Floridians have a college degree, compared to 16 per cent of Hispanic adults nationally.

The group could make a difference in a state hanging in the balance, where every vote really counts, and where Mr Biden currently has just a 3.9 per cent edge over Mr Trump.

The Republican party retains strong support in Florida among Cuban Americans concentrated in the state, who dislike what they see as Democrat appeasment of the Castros.

Mr Trump has sought to build on this, yanking back the olive branch that Barack Obama offered to Havana and following the hard line set by hawks such as Marco Rubio, senator for Florida, and Mario Díaz-Balart, Florida congressman and nephew of Fidel Castro.

Cuban Americans strongly supported the president’s immigration rhetoric, too – feeling that they entered the country legally under the wet foot-dry foot laws that granted special exceptions for Cuban migrants, while other migrants were to be looked down on because they entered illegally.

In both Florida and Arizona, Hispanics make up a fifth or more of all eligible voters – 20 per cent in Florida and 24 per cent in Arizona.

In Arizona, the state with the second-highest Hispanic voter population – 1.2 million – after Florida, a battle is also being waged.

Arizona has only voted Democrat once in the last 70 years, but Mr Biden has been leading in the polls since mid-March and is currently 3.8 points ahead.

Mr Trump is campaigning in the state on Monday, with rallies planned in Prescott and Tucson.

Support for Mr Biden is higher among Arizona’s Hispanics – 66 per cent to 28 per cent – than it is among the electorate in Arizona as a whole, with only 42 per cent of non-Hispanic white voters backing Mr Biden.

That means that the Biden campaign in Arizona is doing all it can to energise the vital sector of support.

Fuera Trump, a digital- and grassroots-based campaign whose name means “Get Out Trump”, has already knocked on more than 100,000 doors in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and Georgia, they told AZ Central.  

The group have organised car caravans, with Biden supporters driving in convoy urging others to join their cause.

“Car caravans have a rich history in Latin America, where they’re often found ramping up political engagement before major events or elections,” said Lamia Pardo of the Fuera Trump group.

A key factor in Hispanic support for Mr Biden appears to be his plans for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, and his rival’s disastrous approach.

The pandemic has disproportionately affected Hispanics: about half say they or someone in their household has been laid off or taken a pay cut because of Covid-19, compared with 42 per cent of all US adults, according to Pew.  

Since the outbreak started in February, significant shares of Hispanics say they have used money from savings or retirement funds to pay bills (43 per cent), had trouble paying bills (37 per cent), received food from a food bank (30 per cent) or had problems paying their rent or mortgage (26 per cent).

Donald Trump  addresses a rally in Sanford, Florida on October 12 - his first since being diagnosed with Covid-19
Donald Trump addresses a rally in Sanford, Florida on October 12 – his first since being diagnosed with Covid-19(Getty Images)

Latinos have also experienced disproportionate health impacts from Covid-19, Pew found.  

As of mid-August, about one-in-five Latino adults said they have had a positive coronavirus test or were “pretty sure” they have had it.  

By contrast, 14 per cent of all US adults said they have had a positive test or were pretty sure they have had the virus.

Latinos voters also had negative views about the nation’s direction.  

Only one-in-five Latinos told Pew they are satisfied with the way things are going in the country today – a worrying decline for Mr Trump from 32 per cent in December 2019.

Latino voters said the economy, health care and the coronavirus outbreak were three of the most important issues to their vote for president.

Only about three-in-ten Latino voters say they are confident that Mr Trump can handle the health impact of the coronavirus outbreak.  

A higher share (44 per cent) are confident that Mr Trump can make good decisions about economic policy.  

Notably, a declining share of Latino voters say they have confidence that the president can bring the country closer together – 20 per cent in October, down from 28 per cent in June.

US election polls: Trump is doing better than ever with Latino voters

US election polls : The president currently has the backing of 35 per cent of Hispanic voters under the age of 45, up from the 22 per cent who backed him four years ago

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