A lot of the recent (and unwarranted) panic over polls tightening comes from the shift to likely voter models for pollsters, and those models have been mostly very bad at predicting turnout among voters of color. I feel very strongly that these voter turnout models are using 2014 data, which granted had an absolutely dismal turnout of Latino voters. In 2014, the electorate was 75% white, and if that turnout model holds true, Donald Trump will easily be your next president.
The reality is that there are 10.7 million more eligible voters in 2016 than in 2012, and two-thirds of them are voters of color. And that percentage will only rise in the future four, eight, twelve years from now.
The problem for Trump and the GOP is simple: Trump is burying the GOP brand with voters of color, especially Latino voters. And if Latino voters start voting like black voters, the GOP is dead and gone.
Donald Trump’s speech on immigration this week — with its full blown xenophobia, its broad brush portrayal of undocumented immigrants as invaders and criminals, and its flat-out nixing of any meaningful path to assimilation — is the stuff of nightmares for GOP operatives who believe their party’s perilous standing with Latinos has left it teetering on the edge of a demographic abyss.
A new poll of over 3,000 Latino voters just released today will not do much to assuage these fears.
The poll, which was commissioned by America’s Voice and conducted by Latino Decisions, finds Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by 70-19 among Latinos. That’s worse than Mitt Romney’s 27 percent in 2012.
But buried in the crosstabs are these findings that suggest Trump may also be damaging the GOP’s image among them pretty badly:
* Only 21 percent of Latinos say the Republican Party truly cares about the Latino community. (Forty five percent say the GOP doesn’t care too much about them, and 28 percent say it is hostile to them, a total of 73 percent.) By contrast, 56 percent say the Democratic Party truly cares about them.
* 70 percent of Latinos say that Trump has made the Republican Party “more hostile” to them. By contrast, 58 percent of Latinos say Hillary Clinton has made the Democratic Party “more welcoming” to them.
* 68 percent of Latinos say Trump’s views about immigrants and immigration make them less likely to vote for Republican candidates this November — with 58 percent saying those views have made them much less likely to do that. By contrast, 64 percent of Latinos say Clinton’s views make them either much more likely (43) or somewhat more likely (21) to vote for Dem candidates.
* 63 percent of Latinos say Trump’s opposition to Obama’s executive deportation relief for DREAMers (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) makes them less likely to vote for GOP candidates, with 53 percent saying they are much less likely.
* Latinos say they’ll vote for Democrats on the generic ballot by 60-14.
There is also some evidence that Trump may be galvanizing Latinos to turn out. Seventy six percent of Latinos say it’s more important to vote this year than it was in 2012, and of that group, a bare majority say this is because of the need to resist Trump and his views.
Imagine how crushed the Republican party would be if Trump drove Latino voters to turn out and vote like black voters. They would end the GOP.
And everyone knows it.
That day just got a lot closer.