An interesting new poll finds Donald Trump apparently leading the Republican field among “Latino Republicans.”
The small-scale survey, from an education-advocacy group called the America Federation of Children, shows Trump with 38 percent support among Hispanic Republicans, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in second with 15 percent.
Pro-immigration amnesty candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are third and fourth among Hispanic Republicans. Bush has 14 percent, while Rubio trails with just 8 percent support.
Trump’s lead among Hispanic Republicans seems counter-intuitive, because of his strong position against illegal immigration and allegations that his rhetoric on the issue has been divisive. The issue of illegal immigration, however, is far more complicated, especially among Hispanics, than the media will admit.
For example, an NBC/WSJ poll from a year ago found that almost 40 percent of all Hispanic voters opposed President Obama’s executive order granting amnesty to certain illegal immigrants. Just 43 percent of Hispanics supported the executive order.
The slim plurality among Hispanics in favor of executive amnesty is a reminder that opposing to President Obama’s action itself isn’t not a deal-breaker with Hispanic voters.
That said, this particular poll should be taken with a mountain of salt. The poll was conducted on behalf of the Federation by Beck Research, a private polling firm. The main emphasis of the poll was to gauge voter support for school-choice policies.
As part of that survey, 200 Hispanic voters were added to the overall sample, to better gauge the group’s support for school choice. Any subset of Hispanic Republicans from this sample, then, is going to be very small indeed.
It is entirely possible that the sample of “Latino Republicans” the poll results are drawn from isn’t larger than a few dozen people nationwide, leaving a statistically unrepresentative handful of Latinos supporting each of the GOP candidates.
This, of course, did not stop the New York Post and other media outlets from reporting on the poll results, with no other analysis or investigation.
It is a good reminder, on the eve of the start of the primary voting process, that, while polls are very helpful in measuring the mood and beliefs of the public, not every poll is created equally. This is especially true when trying to gauge the feelings of smaller sub-sets of the general populace.
Another caveat to this poll is the firm that conducted the it. Beck Research is a high-quality firm, but all of their political clients have been Democrats or Democrat organizations. It isn’t clear that they have any institutional expertise in divining the views of Republican voters.
On that larger poll; almost all voters believe some kind of voucher or tax credit should be available to rescue school kids from underperforming public schools. Republicans would do well to follow those poll results, rather then the candidate horse-race question.