Trump finds favour among Hispanics - GulfToday

Trump finds favour among Hispanics

Trump

Donald Trump. File

Harriet Alexander, The Independent

President Trump currently has the backing of 35 per cent of Hispanic voters under the age of 45, up from the 22 per cent who backed him four years ago. Gulf Today political team believes that the trend could make a difference for him in a state like Florida, where every vote really counts

It was the man in the Stetson who was the most enthusiastic. Election Night in Miami, 2016, and the Hispanics for Trump party at the Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine restaurant in the Doral district was in full swing.

Silvio Morraz, 51, a builder from Nicaragua, was dancing around the restaurant in his cowboy hat, waltzing with a lifesized cutout of Donald Trump — a man he described as “the new Reagan”.

“He’ll build the wall, stop drugs, stop criminals,” he said. “I’m so happy.” Four years later, and Trump is hoping that the enthusiasm remains.

Signs are, it is even stronger. The president currently has the backing of 35 per cent of Hispanic voters under the age of 45, up from the 22 per cent who backed him four years ago, according to the latest analysis of polls by FiveThirtyEight.com, published on Monday.

While it would be wrong to overstate the support for Trump among Latinos, who nationwide back his rival Joe Biden two to one, the rising support for the president will provide some solace for his team, rattled by recent polls giving Biden a 10 point lead.

And in states like Florida and Arizona, that swing in support could prove vital. A record 32 million Hispanics are projected to be eligible to vote in 2020, a total that for the first time exceeds the number of Black eligible voters in a presidential election.

FiveThirtyEight’s analysis found that his support has risen the most among Hispanic voters with a four-year college degree.

In 2016, he suffered a 53 point deficit with degree-holding Hispanics. In the last month, he was down by 39 points with these voters — a double-digit improvement from his previous polling.

And, while they only make up about two per cent of the population age 25 and older nationwide, they are disproportionately concentrated in Florida, home to 3.1 million registered Hispanic voters, and where 24 per cent of Hispanic Floridians have a college degree, compared to 16 per cent of Hispanic adults nationally.

The group could make a difference in a state hanging in the balance, where every vote really counts, and where Biden currently has just a 3.9 per cent edge over Trump.

The Republican party retains strong support in Florida among Cuban Americans concentrated in the state, who dislike what they see as Democrat appeasment of the Castros.

Trump has sought to build on this, yanking back the olive branch that Barack Obama offered to Havana and following the hard line set by hawks such as Marco Rubio, senator for Florida, and Mario Díaz-Balart, Florida congressman and nephew of Fidel Castro.

Cuban Americans strongly supported the president’s immigration rhetoric, too — feeling that they entered the country legally under the wet foot-dry foot laws that granted special exceptions for Cuban migrants, while other migrants were to be looked down on because they entered illegally.

In both Florida and Arizona, Hispanics make up a fifth or more of all eligible voters – 20 per cent in Florida and 24 per cent in Arizona.

In Arizona, the state with the second-highest Hispanic voter population - 1.2 million - after Florida, a battle is also being waged. Arizona has only voted Democrat once in the last 70 years, but Biden has been leading in the polls since mid-March and is currently 3.8 points ahead.

Andres Cano, 28, was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2018, and is campaigning for re-election. He told The Independent he felt there was more energy among Latino voters than in 2016.

Support for Biden is higher among Arizona’s Hispanics — 66 per cent to 28 per cent — than it is among the electorate in Arizona as a whole, with only 42 per cent of non-Hispanic white voters backing Biden.

That means that the Biden campaign in Arizona is doing all it can to energise the vital sector of support.

A key factor in Hispanic support for Biden appears to be his plans for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, and his rival’s disastrous approach.

The pandemic has disproportionately affected Hispanics: about half say they or someone in their household has been laid off or taken a pay cut because of Covid-19, compared with 42 per cent of all US adults, according to Pew.

Since the outbreak started in February, significant shares of Hispanics say they have used money from savings or retirement funds to pay bills (43 per cent), had trouble paying bills (37 per cent), received food from a food bank (30 per cent) or had problems paying their rent or mortgage (26 per cent).

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