If there was any one group of individuals one might expect to hate President Donald Trump — one group whom the media has constantly said Trump has demagogued against — it’s Hispanics.
After all, the idea that the president and Republicans want to enforce immigration law — not to mention build a wall along the southern border to prevent illegal border crossings — is generally considered prima facie racist by the media.
Yet, wonder of wonders, they seem to approve of President Trump’s performance.
A survey by pollsters McLaughlin & Associates found that 50 percent of Hispanic voters approved of Trump’s job performance, compared with 48 percent that didn’t.
Overall, 51 percent disapproved of the president’s performance compared with 47 percent who approved.
So, Trump’s poll number among Hispanics specifically was actually higher than it was among voters across all groups.
That alone would be enough to have Democrats suffering panic attacks, but it’s arguably not the best news from the poll for Trump’s supporters.
“Our most recent national poll of 1,000 likely voters was completed before the release of the Mueller Report, between March 20 and 24,” pollsters Jim and John McLaughlin wrote for Newsmax in a piece published Friday.
“The results of this new national poll show that President Trump and the Republicans are poised to take advantage of the great opportunity afforded by the president’s vindication by the final release of the Mueller report.”
The rest of the poll, as reported by the McLaughlins, had similar good news for the president.
“The plurality of all voters, 49 percent, want President Trump and Congress to change and move away from the old policies of President Obama,” they wrote.
“Only 41 percent want to continue Obama’s policies. Independent voters want change, 51 percent to 32 percent. 43 percent of all Hispanic voters want change and women want change, 47 percent to 41 percent. President Trump is getting the change message back that elected him in the first place. It’s a sign that he can reclaim his mandate and get re-elected.”
“Even though our sample has more Democrats than Republicans in it, as did the actual 2016 turnout, our generic ballot for Congress, that correctly predicted a Democratic House majority, now has the Republicans leading the generic ballot for Congress, Republican 47 percent, Democrat 43 percent. Republicans lead among Independents 42 percent to 31 percent, too,” they noted.
The poll also looked at potential Democratic candidates for president, although there wasn’t much surprise there.
Former Vice President Joe Biden was still in the lead with 28 percent to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 17 percent. The Democrats’ nominee for 2016, Hillary Clinton, California Sen. Kamala Harris and former Texas Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke were all at 8 percent.
It’s worth noting, however, that the poll was done before Lucy Flores, a former Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in Nevada, accused Biden of engaging in inappropriate behavior during a 2014 campaign event.
The big news, of course, is going to be that 50 percent Hispanic approval rating.
Back in January, when an NPR/Marist poll showed a similar number, news outlets expressed skepticism.
Politico spoke with “veteran pollsters” who “called the number suspect, citing issues with the poll’s sample size and methodology. Broader polling data show little sign that Trump’s standing with Hispanics is on the rise.
“To the consternation of Democrats, however, (Hispanic support) doesn’t seem to be falling, either. Trump’s dire rhetoric about immigration seems to have done little damage to his modest — but not insignificant — support among Hispanics,” Politico noted.
PBS, when “fact-checking” the poll (it’s a sad sign for where we are as a polity when “fact-checking” needs to be put in quotes, as it so often does) said that “the president overlooked the core finding of the poll, which showed that 57 percent of registered voters said they would definitely vote against Trump in 2020, compared to just 30 percent who said they would back the president.” PBS also noted the fact the poll was only conducted in English.
The latter point is worth exploring, but the former point seems wholly extraneous to whether the president’s support among the Hispanic community is going up. Furthermore, the Trump administration can now point to a second poll with a similar finding.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Trump is going to get 50 percent of the Latino vote in 2020. However, it does signify two things.
First, Democrats can’t count on the 66 percent Hispanic support they got back in 2016 at the presidential level. Second, the idea that rhetoric on immigration law carpet-bombs Trump’s approval ratings among Hispanic voters simply doesn’t hold true.
Politico noted in January that “polling over the past two months also suggests the border wall-fueled shutdown had little effect on Trump’s approval rating among Hispanic voters. In the three weeks leading up to the shutdown, Trump’s approval rating among Hispanics stood at 30 percent. That ticked down to 28 percent in the three polls so far in January — statistically unchanged from the preshutdown surveys.”
The McLaughlin poll demonstrates that even after months of debate over the wall and immigration, and as Trump talks about shutting down the border because of a surge in asylum-seekers, Hispanic support for the president actually comes out above approval as a whole.
It may not be specifically indicative of the share of the vote he gets in 2020, obviously, but it’s a sign that he’s trending upwards.
That could be giving nightmares to Democrats hoping to recover 1600 Pennsylvania.