GOP Latino voters souring on Trump, survey says

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fifty fifty thoNearly nine out of ten Latino voters in Nevada say they’ve felt “frustrated” with how President Donald Trump and his allies treat immigrants and Latinos, and worry that things could get worse if he were reelected. 

Those frustrations could be eating into already limited Latino support for the Republican Party, according to a new survey released this week by the Latino advocacy group Unidos US and polling firm Latino Decisions. 

The survey polled 1,854 eligible Latino voters, including 315 in Nevada, using online and telephone interviews between June 1 and 14. The state sample margin of error is +/- 5.5 percentage points.

In Nevada, 34 percent of Latino respondents said that they have voted for a Republican candidate in past elections. But within that group, 50 percent agreed it was hard to support the party’s candidates in the current environment, though that they would consider voting for a Republican if they “focused on issues I care about and treated Latinos with respect.”

Among issues all Latinos surveyed most cared about were jobs and the economy came out as their first priority at 25 percent. Health care (17 percent) and immigration (16 percent) followed as top issues.

In 2007 prior to the deepest damage from the economic crash, unemployment for Latinos in Nevada was 4.4 percent in 2007. After spiking during the recession, then falling with the recovery, unemployment was still 5.4 percent in 2017, according to data from Unidos US. Nationally, Latino unemployment is at 4.3 percent. 

The poverty rate for Latino’s in Nevada sits at 13.4 percent, compared to the average poverty rate among all Nevadan’s of 9.1 percent, and the homeownership rate among Nevada Latinos is 45.9 percent compared with 56.6 percent among Nevadans as a whole.

The top immigration policy priority among Latino voters is “Stopping the Trump Administration’s practice of separating undocumented children from their parents at the border” followed by comprehensive immigration reform, according to the survey.

Protecting health coverage for those with preexisting conditions and increasing federal funding for education were the highest priorities for Latino voters when asked what makes them more likely to vote for candidates, both coming in at 61 percent.

Overall, a majority of Nevada’s Latino voters prefer a Democratic candidate, according to the survey. Fifty-nine percent of Latino voters in Nevada say they would definitely or probably vote for a Democratic presidential candidate if they had to cast a ballot today, while only 22 percent said they would definitely or probably vote for Trump.

During a forum Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers and representative for Unidos US discussed the survey’s findings and economic conditions in Latino communities. 

“We found that even though Latinos in Nevada are doing better in most cases than they were in 2007 when the great recession began, Latinos are still not doing as well as all Nevadans,” said Jennifer Brown, Associate Director of Economic Policy at UnidosUS.

“We know that childcare and housing especially rental housingare really eating away at people’s budget. We know that combined together, for most Latinos in this country, that’s about half of their talk home pay.”

Democratic Assemblyman Edgar Flores said lawmakers need to address the ways economic issues disproportionately affect communities of color and focus on their specific needs.

“Communities of color are disproportionately impacted,” Flores said. “So, when we talk about we are very interested in ⁠— education, or healthcare, or affordable housing, or immigration ⁠— what we’re saying is how this is disproportionately impacting Latino or Latina communities.”

Jeniffer Solis
Reporter | Jeniffer was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada where she attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before graduating in 2017 with a B.A in Journalism and Media Studies. While at UNLV she was a senior staff writer for the student newspaper, the UNLV Scarlet and Gray Free Press, and a news reporter for KUNV 91.5 FM, covering everything from the Route 91 shooting to UNLV housing. She has also contributed to the UNLV News Center and worked as a production engineer for several KUNV broadcasts before joining the Nevada Current. She’s an Aries.

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