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Harris and Castro rise among Hispanics after the first democratic debate

The California senator and the former secretary displaced vice-president Joe Biden and senator Bernie Sanders after their strong performances during the debates.
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2 Jul 2019 – 12:00 PM EDT

After a robust performance in the first presidential debate, Julián Castro solidified and strengthened his position, while Kamala Harris now stands as the current favorite among Hispanics eligible to vote in the primary elections.

In a survey conducted nationwide by Univision News after the first presidential debate, 22 percent of Latinos interviewed said Harris is their current favorite. This is a significant change: in a Univision News poll prior to the debate, only 6 percent said they saw the California senator as their favorite, a 16-percentage point change.

Similarly, Castro, who came in third place with 9 percent of the preference in our pre-debate survey, rose to second place. Of those interviewed, 18 percent identified the former mayor of San Antonio as their favorite candidate. Biden loses -5 percentage points, Sanders 4 and O'Rourke 2.

Regarding the debate, a large portion of respondents, 32 percent, say they see Harris as the winner, while 28 percent say that Castro won. A smaller percentage saw Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren as the winners, at 18 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

It is evident that they are following the candidates’ performances closely and are identifying their different strengths.

In terms of immigration, 31 percent think that Castro has the best proposal. Nearly a third prefer the healthcare reform plan offered by Sanders, as well as his proposal to pay off student debt. And 19 percent believe that Harris offers the best proposal to deal with gun violence.

There is still a long way to go to Election Day, but the results of this survey show that Latinos are listening to government proposals attentively and enthusiastically.

Some candidates are already showing a clear intention to persuade Hispanics directly by speaking in Spanish. But this effort has to be accompanied by direct proposals, because only 53 percent say they see a candidate speaking Spanish as a motivation to vote for them, while a significant 35 percent say this does not influence their decision. On the other hand, concrete proposals on topics such as health, immigration and student debt do seem to be factors that will motivate Latino voters.

You can read the full survey here.