Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders are the top picks for Latino voters as the Democratic candidate to combat President Donald Trump in next year’s presidential elections, according to a new Telemundo poll.
Biden, who served as vice president under former President Barack Obama, garnered 26% of Democratic Latino voters in the survey, compared to 18% for Sanders, 10% for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 3% for Sen. Kamala Harris and 2% each for Julian Castro, Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg, according to the poll. O’Rourke dropped out of the race last week.
“This is a phenomenon of name recognition,” said Jeronimo Cortina, associate director of the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Houston. Biden has been “attached to Obama and he has been in the political limelight for more than two decades.”
The survey — Noticias Telemundo’s “State of the Latino Vote Poll – One Year Out” – interviewed 1,000 registered Hispanic voters nationwide over four days in late October.
It offered some of the most detailed questions put to Latino voters in the run-up to the 2020 elections. Latino voters are expected to play a key role in that race. Next year’s elections will mark the first time that Hispanics will be the largest racial or ethnic minority group in the electorate, accounting for just over 13% of eligible voters, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center.
An estimated 32 million Hispanics will be eligible to vote in 2020, higher than the 30 million eligible black voters, according to the Pew analysis.
Democratic candidates vying for the presidential nomination have been courting Hispanic support, from answering questions in Spanish during televised debates to organizing forums with Latino leaders.
Latinos represent only 3.4% of eligible voters in Iowa, site of the first Democratic caucuses in February, but could play pivotal roles in other states with larger pools of Latino voters, such as Nevada (19%), New Mexico (43%) and Texas (30%).
The Trump campaign has also set its sights on Latino voters. In June, Vice President Mike Pence, speaking to a Latino crowd in Miami, launched the “Latinos for Trump” coalition, an effort to woo Hispanic voters.
In the Telemundo poll, 64% of respondents said they would like to see Trump replaced as president versus 25% who would prefer he get reelected. That means Trump, despite controversial immigration policies and Congressional impeachment hearings, still holds roughly the same Latino support – 28% — that helped elect him in 2016, according to exit polls.
Other findings from the Telemundo poll include:
- The top issues among Democratic Hispanic voters are healthcare (29%), economy and jobs (24%), immigration (14%) and environment/climate change (10%).
- Around 36% of Democratic Hispanic voters are still undecided on who they’ll back for the Democratic nominee.
- Around two-thirds of Latino men (61%) and Latino women (66%) favor replacing Trump next year.
Hispanic voters also showed they were strongly split along party lines for their support for Trump and on different issues, mirroring the political partisan divide evident across the U.S. Among Latino Democrats, 86% said they wanted Trump replaced next year, while 73% of Latino Republicans wanted him reelected. And 87% of Latino Democrats said they disapprove of Trump’s performance as president, compared to 89% of Latino Republicans who approve of his performance.
Overall, 57% of those polled supported impeaching the president, though that question also broke sharply down political lines, with 79% of Latino Democrats supporting impeachment and 92% of Latino Republicans opposing the measure.
“It points to the diversity of this electorate,” said Mark Hugo Lopez of the Pew Research Center. “When you think about the Latino vote, it’s not always the same.”
Most Latino voters – 70% — felt that Trump’s rhetoric has encouraged anti-immigrant sentiment, racism or discrimination in the U.S., according to the poll. But only 35% of those polled said they were “very” worried of becoming the victim of a hate crime, such as the shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart in August, while 25% said they were “somewhat” worried and 27% said they were “not at all” worried.
Follow Jervis on Twitter: @MRJervis.