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Elecciones 2016

Did Trump really win the Hispanic vote in Nevada?

The Republican front runner won 44% of the vote among Hispanics in the state's caucus, according to several exit polls
25 Feb 2016 – 7:49 PM EST

By Fernando Peinado @FernandoPeinado, from Las Vegas, Nevada

If you're still confused or surprised by the support Donald Trump received among Hispanic voters in Nevada on Tuesday, you're not alone.

Trump won 44% of the vote among Hispanics in the state's Republican caucus, according to exit polls conducted by several TV networks. He beat Marco Rubio, who claimed 29% of the Hispanic vote, and Ted Cruz, who earned 21%.

"You know what I'm really happy about?", Trump said during a victory speech in Las Vegas on Tuesday. "I've been saying it for a long time: 46 percent with Hispanics. Number one with Hispanics."

But some caveats must be applied to the Edison Research survey he used to make that bombastic assertion, and some doubt should be cast on the billionaire's claim that he has become the "number one" candidate among Hispanics.

According to the survey, about 2,600 Latinos voted for Trump in Nevada, where there are nearly 328,000 eligible Hispanic voters.

Of these voters, about 16,500 made their way to the Democratic caucus last Saturday, while only about 6,000 voted on Tuesday's Republican caucus, according to exit surveys.

So, even if it might seem Trump won the total Hispanic vote, he didn't: He won the Hispanic Republican vote, in a state where Hispanics favor the Democratic Party.

Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton received more total votes from Hispanics than Trump did in this year's Nevada caucuses. And out of all Latinos who voted this month in Nevada, nearly 93% did not vote for Trump, according to David Damore, an analyst from the research firm Latino Decisions.

Charles Muñoz, the Hispanic state director of Trump's campaign, did not offer comments for this story.

A small sampling

The Edison Research survey only included 132 Hispanic voters out of 1,545 total voters interviewed in 25 precincts.

It had a "high" error margin of 10%, according to Joe Lenski, who was in charge of the survey and spoke to Univision Noticias. But Lenski said the margin is smaller than Trump's 15 percent lead over Rubio, leaving little doubt that he won the Hispanic vote.

It can't be denied that Trump has considerable support among some Hispanics. Even if he's highly impopular among Latinos, the results in Nevada show some Hispanics trust him.

According to Damore, there's a fraction of conservative Latinos in Nevada who are in favor of tough immigration policies. In 2010, Sharron Angle, a Tea Party candidate for the Senate, got 8% of the Hispanic vote, he said.

Damore thinks many of the Trump supporters belong to that group, which he said is made up of older Hispanics who did not migrate or those who became citizens through easier means, like Cuban Americans.

Some Latinos are simply not swayed by immigration issues, said Jesús Márquez, a Republican analyst in Nevada.

"Survey after survey shows that the main issue on the minds of U.S. Hispanics is the economy", said Márquez, who worked on Jeb Bush's campaign. "It's not that they're not sympathetic (with undocumented immigrants). It's that they're simply unhappy with an economy that does not work".

Several Hispanic Trump supporters told Univision Noticias they trust he's the candidate who can fix the economy.

"I voted for Obama twice and I'm disappointed", said Luis Velázquez, who was born in Mexico but has an American mother, to Univision Noticias."I have cousins who are here illegally, and I understand their suffering, but for me immigration is a secondary issue".

Velázquez, who attended one of Trump's events in Las Vegas on Monday, said he supports the Republican candidate because he's not a politician. "He's not doing this for money, fame or power. He already has that. For me, he's doing this because he really wants to solve the country's problems," he said.

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