With almost a month to go until the election, former Vice President Joe Biden is 42 points ahead of President Donald Trump among Hispanics registered to vote. However, that lead is reduced to 16 points in Florida, a key swing state in the race for the White House.
In a new Univision News poll with Latino Decisions and North Star Opinion Research, just over half of those surveyed (52%) are determined to vote for Biden and his vice presidential running mate, Kamala Harris, while 14% are leaning that way. For their part, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have the solid support of 19% of Latinos, while 6% are leaning in their favor.
Biden still has work to do with Latino voters to reach the 79% that Hillary Clinton had just before the 2016 elections. Trump, for his part, has already surpassed the 18% he had at that time.
Compared to where he stood before he was the Democratic Party nominee and Harris joined his ticket, Biden appears to have gained ground with Hispanics in Texas. The survey, conducted in that state in partnership with the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Houston, reveals that 66% now plan to vote for him compared to 53% in February.
In contrast, in key states like Arizona and Florida, the former vice president has failed to advance much among Hispanics. In Arizona, his advantage went from 37 to 40 points; while in Florida his margin dropped three points (from 19 to 16), when comparing this poll with a previous one carried out by Univision in March.
Florida remains Trump's stronghold with Hispanics. Nationally, his approval is 30%, but in the Sunshine state it rises to 39%.
Additionally, the percentage of Democrats who say the party isn’t making enough effort to reach out to Latinos is higher in Florida than in Arizona and Texas, 43% versus 36% and 33%, respectively. The national percentage is 35%, similar to what a Univision poll found more than a year ago.
In the case of Trump and the Republicans, the percentage who believe they are not communicating enough is similar (34%), but 39% believe they are openly hostile. Only 9% think this of the Democrats and Biden.
Coronavirus, Jobs and "Law and Order"
Before the pandemic hit their health and finances, Latinos were already reporting that lowering health care costs was their top concern. Shortly before the elections, 40% say that responding to the coronavirus should be the next president's top priority. The new poll also found that 73% disapprove of Trump's management on that issue and 61% believe that Biden would handle it better. Also, 62% believe that Biden would do a better job when it comes to lowering the cost of medical expenses.
In managing the economy, one of Trump's banner issues, 57% consider that Biden would be better for the recovery compared to 27% who would prefer Trump. Again, that difference is smaller in Florida, where 47% would prefer Biden and 38% believe Trump would do a better job.
When it comes to maintaining “law and order”, one of the president's favorite phrases, Biden also has an advantage among Latino voters: 59% believe he would do better than Trump. Another 63% believe it would be better to address racial injustices. It is worth noting that 83% of those surveyed believe that racism towards Hispanics and immigrants is a problem.
The Univision News poll found that both nationally and in Arizona, Texas and Florida, there is strong support for protests against the death of George Floyd and in support of Black Lives Matter: more than 70% of Latino voters are in favor.
The poll also found significant support for cutting police funds. 58% believed that police department funds should be reduced and invested in community programs, rather than maintaining or increasing their budgets.
Voting by Mail and Trump's Rhetoric
With these elections occurring in the midst of a pandemic, 46% of Latinos say that voting in person could present a risk from the coronavirus and, as a consequence, almost half (48%) plan to vote absentee or by mail, either by sending their ballot via the Postal Service or by depositing it in a designated ballot drop box.
In Arizona, where all registered voters can vote by mail, that percentage rises to 61%. In Texas, where an excuse is needed to request to vote by mail, the figure drops to 33%. Even so, 40% plan to vote in person during the early voting period, which is higher than the 24% national average.
Only 27% of those consulted at the national level stated that they will vote in person on election day.
The poll also sought to measure the impact of Trump's rhetoric on confidence among Hispanics regarding voting by mail among. When asked if they have confidence that absentee or mail voting will be free of fraud, 65% said yes, while one in three Hispanics reported they did not have confidence.
Belief in the integrity of voting by mail was even lower among those respondents who were reminded that the president has suggested that it would be rife with fraud. In that case, confidence in the system dropped to 52%.
Experts have denied the president's claims and point to studies that indicate that voter fraud is quite rare and is minimal in states with a universal voting-by-mail system.
Methodology: Univision News conducted a national survey of Latino registered voters, with an oversample of Latinos in Arizona, Florida, and Texas. The poll was implemented from September 17 – 24, 2020 and a total of 1,962 Latino registered voters completed the survey. The survey contains a margin of error of +/- 2.21. Texas portion (n=401) contains a margin of error of +/- 4.89, Arizona (n=401) 4.89, and Florida (n=500) +/- 4.38. The Latino Texas survey was commissioned through a partnership between Univision News and the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Houston. Additional questions related to the supreme court were added on September 20, 2020. These questions were incorporated with two sample splits and were asked to n=392 (split A), MOE +/- 4.95 and n=432 (split B), MOE +/- 4.71
Surveys were administered in English or Spanish at the discretion of the respondent and included a mix of cell phone, landline telephone and online self-completed interviews. All respondents are confirmed to be registered to vote and that they consider themselves to be Hispanic or Latina/o. Respondents were randomly selected from the voter file and invitations for interviews were done by live caller or email. Invitations were bilingual at point of contact and allowed respondents to complete the interview in their language of choice. The survey was overseen by Dr. Sergio Garcia-Rios, director of polling for Univision, and administered in collaboration by Latino Decisions and North Star Opinion Research.