Donald Trump is overwhelmingly favored by Hispanic voters in next year's Republican presidential primaries to contest President Joe Biden for the White House, according to a poll conducted by BSP Research for Univision News.
The poll, which interviewed 1,400 Hispanics registered to vote nationwide (including 625 Republican Latinos), is the largest survey of Hispanics in the current election cycle.
Despite not participating in the debates between the Republican hopefuls (the second of which, organized by Fox and Univision, will take place Wednesday, Sept 27) and facing four court cases against him, 50% of Republican Hispanics plan to vote for him in the 2024 primaries.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis trials in second place with 12%, followed by businessman Vivek Ramaswamy with 9%. Another 13% are undecided.
Despite the controversies surrounding his name in recent years, Trump has a 36% favorability rating among Hispanic voters, four points above the margin he had when he left office in January 2021, according to a previous Univision News poll.
However, if the presidential election were held today, and the contenders were Biden and Trump, 58% of Hispanics would vote for the incumbent Democrat and 31% would vote for the former Republican president.
The Univision News poll also reveals that Hispanic Democrats would vote for Biden (87% vs. 9% for Trump) and Hispanic Republicans would vote for Trump (85% vs. 7% for Biden) in a marked partisan polarization. The difference maker would be independent voters, who by a margin of 46% to 24% favor Biden.
If the Republican candidate were Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor would garner 28% of the vote, versus 57% for Biden.
The main concerns among Hispanics
As was the case in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy, the cost of living ranks first among the concerns of registered Hispanic voters. Fifty-four percent consider it the most important issue facing the country today. A year ago, in four states with large Hispanic populations (Texas, Florida, Arizona and Nevada) surveyed by Univision News, the average was 49%.
Despite the slowing of price increases over the past year, the perception of Latino voters is that costs are still too high, and they do not see that either of the two political parties have a clear plan to combat inflation. Only 27% of Latino voters believe Biden has a plan to deal with the cost of living, and only 22% believe the Republicans do. In contrast, 33% say Biden does not have a plan, versus 34% who say Republicans lack a plan.
A larger - but not overwhelming - number of Latino voters trust Democrats (48%) to solve the problem, than Republicans (32%).
The second-biggest concern of Hispanic voters is gun violence and its heartbreaking manifestation in mass shootings. Thirty percent of respondents see it as the most important problem facing the country.
That figure has grown steadily in recent years, due to the impact on Latino communities of the massacres at places such as Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, El Paso and Uvalde in Texas, or the murder earlier this year of four Hondurans in Houston.
In Texas, the state where the community has been most affected by the massacres, 24% of Hispanic voters considered mass shootings and gun safety policy as the highest priority for authorities a year ago. Today, that concern has risen to 34%. In Florida it was 18% last year and now stands at 28%.
Growing concern about the shooting issue is reflected in Hispanic voters' willingness to support a federal assault rifle ban. Some 72% of respondents would support a ban, including 47% of Republicans in the poll.
In third and fourth place among concerns expressed in the poll are two cost-of-living issues: health care costs (27%) and affordable housing (25%). The growing increase in the former explains the overwhelming majority of Hispanic voters (92%) who support allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs. The second is a consequence of the housing boom, which has sent prices and rents soaring in many parts of the country.
Climate change follows in fifth place. One of the hottest summers in years, and the increasing bombardment of news about climate-driven natural disasters (both in the U.S. and around the world) seem to be persuading voters about the risks it brings. In 2019 (prior to the second debate among Democratic candidates for the 2020 election) 9% of Hispanic voters considered it a key concern. That figure has risen to 21% (including 12% of Republicans).
Border security closes out the issues of greatest concern to Hispanic voters and is gaining traction among Hispanic Democrats (13%). In a group of 11 questions about which party they trust more to handle crucial community issues, border security is the only one where trust in Republicans (41%) exceeds trust in Democrats (40%) among all Hispanic voters surveyed.
Most Hispanic Democrats and Republicans agree that more border security is needed. A majority also agree on the possibility of offering a path to citizenship for dreamers (90% OF Democrats and 67% of Republicans), on opposing denial of citizenship to children of non-citizen parents (63% and 55%) and on other policies important to migrants.
Finally, when Hispanics were asked what their main concern was regarding public education, they identified lack of funding and censorship of books by lobbyists (37% and 36% respectively) as the top priorities.
On the other hand, 16% mention the growing importance that is being given to gender-related issues (gays, lesbians and trans) as the greatest concern.
Overall, Latinos are disappointed with the direction of the country. Fifty-one percent say it is going in the wrong direction, and 36% blame both
Democrats and Republicans.
They also say they do not feel listened to by either party. Forty-five percent believe that Democrats are not interested in Latinos, while 8% believe they are hostile to them. On the other hand, 49% think Republicans do not care about them and 22% think they are hostile to Latinos.
The politics of a judicial mess
The Univision News poll also inquired about the possible electoral impact of the legal proceedings against Trump and Hunter Biden, the president’s son.
In Trump's case, most of the charges are related to the events of January 6, 2021, when a mob stormed the Capitol in an attempt to reverse the November 2020 election results, as well as the vote count in the state of Georgia and Trump’s possession of classified documents after he left the White House.
In the case of Hunter Biden, the issue centers on whether the president knew, or was involvement in, his son's business dealings with Ukraine and China during his presidency.
In all three politically related prosecutions against Trump, a majority of Hispanic voters (54%) believe the former president acted improperly and should be held accountable for his actions. Only, 20% of Republicans surveyed hold him accountable, while 72% of Democrats do.
When asked about Biden, 33% of the respondents said the president knew about his son's business dealings and acted inappropriately, while 27% said he did nothing wrong. Among those who hold him responsible, 21% were Democrats and 59% were Republicans.