The sample is 264 Latino registered voters, which is on the small side for a major poll but still noteworthy since Latinos are a key bloc and not often surveyed on their own.
Lots of interesting tidbits here. Glass half full: Various GOPers are positioned to improve on Romney’s dismal numbers with Latinos in 2012, maybe dramatically. Glass half empty: All of them still trail Clinton overall, which is a nice reminder that doing better with Latinos in 2016 and no one else won’t be enough.
Clinton’s biggest lead is against current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump: She’s ahead of him by 11 points among all voters, 52 percent to 41 percent, and a whopping 42 points among Latino voters, 69 percent to 27 percent.
The former Democratic secretary of state leads Ted Cruz by seven points nationally, 51 percent to 44 percent, and by 27 points among Latinos, 61 percent to 34 percent.
Clinton holds a four-point advantage over Jeb Bush, 49 percent to 45 percent, and a 26-point lead among Latinos, 61 percent to 35 percent.
She’s ahead of Marco Rubio by three points among all voters, 48 percent to 45 percent, and 19 points among Latinos, 57 percent to 38 percent.
Ben Carson does best against Hillary overall at 48/47 but among Latinos he trails 61/35. So what’s interesting here? Rubio’s numbers, for starters. One of his pitches to donors is that, as the first major-party Latino nominee and a man with a sunny “American dream” message, he could reach Latino voters in a way no other Republican, including Jeb Bush, could. He’s not going to consolidate that group the way Obama consolidated the black vote, but he doesn’t have to. If he pulls, say, 45 percent in a general election, he’d almost certainly win the presidency. He’s in striking distance of that here, and his margin among Latinos against Hillary is seven points better than anyone else’s. (He’s also the biggest gainer against Hillary, having trailed her by 30 points just three months ago.) When Latinos are asked if they’d be more likely to vote for a nominee who chooses a Latino VP, 23 percent say yes. Imagine what the number might be for a nominee who’s Latino himself. If you’re looking for another reason among the dozens and dozens already available to believe that Rubio would be a better bet as nominee than Jeb would, there you go.
It’s also interesting how mediocre Jeb’s numbers are. Granted, winning 35 percent of Latinos would be an improvement on Romney and McCain. McCain lost the Latino vote by 36 points despite years of shilling for amnesty; Romney famously lost it by 44. A 26-point deficit is progress. But that margin is matched by Ben Carson and almost matched by loud-and-proud border hawk Ted Cruz. Huh. The spin on that for Team Jeb is obvious: Many more Latino voters know who Jeb Bush is but don’t yet know Cruz. Once they find out he’s a stalwart conservative and opposes a path to citizenship, his numbers will collapse. Could be, but when Latino voters were asked to rate how favorable they are to Bush, 23 percent said they see him positively versus 34 percent who see him negatively. The split for Rubio was 27/19 by comparison. And of course, many Latino voters don’t know Rubio yet either. They may like him more once they find out about his Gang of Eight work.
As for Trump, his numbers are yuuugely terrible — his favorable rating among Latinos is 17/67, with 55 percent saying they view him “very negatively,” and 65 percent say he’s “insulting and offensive” versus 31 percent who say he’s “telling it like it is” — but even he’s doing no worse (for the moment) than Romney did in losing the Latino vote 71/27 to Obama. If you’re a Trump fan, the answer to that is to shrug and say either (a) he’ll make up the difference by turning out more white voters or (b) if he could turn around his initially terrible favorable rating among Republicans this year, he can turn it around with Latinos next year too. I think he would turn out some white voters who haven’t bothered voting lately, and I think his blue-collar message would get a second look from some Latinos once they hear him on the stump. The problem is this: How does he inch away from his “deport ’em all” immigration policy, which will otherwise keep his numbers among Latinos down, without annoying all of his right-wing supporters? Democrats are going to be running his soundbite about rapists from Mexico 24/7; getting Latinos to focus on economics amid all that is a tough ask. His better play, it seems, is to try to turn out more whites, although I don’t know that there’s hard evidence (yet) that he’d do better than other Republicans on that count. In the last CNN national poll, he led Hillary 58/37 among white voters. Rubio led 60/37. Ted Cruz led 59/38.
One more zesty bit from the crosstabs. What do we make of this?
Latinos are more likely to vote for a candidate who promises to roll back Obama’s executive amnesty? Huh. Does that prove that the conventional wisdom about immigration politics is wrong, or does it prove that we shouldn’t take this poll too seriously?