A new poll of 2,000 citizens shows that Donald Trump’s immigration stance has more support among Hispanic Americans than Gov. Mitt Romney won in 2012, even after the pollsters reminded respondents of Trump’s most controversial statements on immigration.
Twenty-eight percent of Hispanic Americans agreed with Trump’s June statement that “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
In 2012, Romney won 27 percent of the Hispanic-American vote.
Twelve percent of Hispanic-Americans said they were not sure what to say about Trump’s comment, and only 61 percent opposed it, despite heated criticism of Trump by Spanish-language media.
The new poll also showed that 35 percent of moderates and 38 percent of independents somewhat or strongly backed Trump’s harshly-phrased, much-criticized statement. Twenty-five percent of moderates and 26 percent of independents disagreed strongly.
Among African-Americans, 24 percent agreed with Trump’s statement— that’s four times the 6 percent won by Romney in 2012 — while 28 percent of African-Americans disagreed strongly. Many respondents declined to comment — 22 percent of African-Americans, 19 percent of moderates and 17 percent of independents.
The new poll was performed by YouGov for The Economist in the first week of November.
Trump’s support among Hispanics shouldn’t be surprising.
Many middle-class, non-immigrant Hispanics worry that large-scale migration will undermine their hard-earned status as core Americans, impoverish their neighborhoods, drive up crime, worsen local schools and compete for jobs. Polls show the growing support for conservatives policies as Hispanics families root themselves in America — but the polls also show how the growing number of poor Hispanic immigrants keeps refreshing the Democratic supermajority among Hispanic voters.
A 2014 poll in hard-hit California, for example, showed that 57 percent of first-generation Latino immigrants wanted the wave of 2014 Central American migrants to get free legal aid. But only 48 percent of second-generation Latinos supported the free legal aid. Forty-four percent of the second-generation actually opposed the free legal aid.
A 2012 poll by Pew showed that support for bigger government fell from 81 percent of new immigrants to 58 percent of third-generation immigrants.
A June 2014 poll funded by Facebook showed that 78 percent of Hispanics favored “substantially increasing” security at the U.S.-Mexican border, 77 percent want companies to check their employees’ work eligibility and 76 percent want the government to identify people who overstay their visas.
The new YouGov poll also asked which GOP candidate can best handle the immigration issue.
The result showed that Trump’s emphasis on repatriation for illegals and jobs for Americans was favored by 2:1 or 3:1 over the establishment’s preference for amnesty for illegals, jobs for foreign labor, and lower-wages for Americans.
On immigration, Trump was backed by 49 percent of Republicans, 15 percent of Democrats, 28 percent of independents and 26 percent of moderates.
Combined, Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Jeb Bush were backed on immigration by only 16 percent of Republicans, 18 percent of Democrats, 10 percent of independents and 12 percent of moderates. Roughly 47 percent of moderates and independents did not give an answer.
Trump was also backed by 29 percent of all respondents, 34 percent of whites, 12 percent of blacks and 15 percent of Hispanics.
Combined, Rubio and Bush scored only 14 percent of respondents, 13 percent of whites, 9 percent among blacks and 25 percent of Hispanics. The black and Hispanic responses are unreliable, because 57 percent of blacks and 39 percent of Hispanics did not pick any GOP candidate.
Among the middle-income voters who likely will decide who wins the 2016 election, Trump beat the combination of Rubio and Bush by 33 percent support to a combined 14 percent support.
The new poll complements many prior polls which show that Americans overwhelmingly want immigration and labor laws to help Americans find decent jobs, before allowing companies to employ foreign workers.
After many years of flat wages amid high legal and illegal immigration, and after three years of bitter debate, the issue has split the GOP into two wings — the populist and nationalist wing that favors Trump, and the establishment, business and donor wing that favors Bush and Rubio.
In 2013, the inrush of new legal and illegal migrants added 2.1 million new foreign blue-collar and white-collar workers to the labor market, just as 4.4 million young Americans began looking for jobs. The labor market was glutted, wages flatlined, profits rose and the stock market jumped by roughly $5 trillion.