Battleground Bulletin: Latinos are tired of Trump and ready for a real leader

May 26, 2020

NEW POLL: Latinos are tired of Trump and ready for a real leader

By Priorities USA, Latino Victory Fund & Latino Decisions

Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to woo Latino voters to support his reelection in 2020. However, new polling indicates that the president’s incompetent response to the coronavirus crisis has significantly complicated his plans to make inroads with these voters — while also showing a path for Democrats to solidify their support.

The survey, conducted by Latino Decisions on behalf of Priorities USA and Latino Victory Fund, takes the temperature of Latino voters in two crucial swing states, Florida and Arizona. The results capture a snapshot of a voting bloc that has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and remains deeply skeptical of Trump’s handling of the virus, but that does not yet fully blame the president for the resulting economic fallout that continues to batter their pocketbooks.

Latinos have been hit particularly hard by coronavirus

As the pandemic continues to grip the nation, voters of all types, all across the country are looking for leadership on this issue. So it should come as no surprise that Latino voters in Florida and Arizona cited the coronavirus as the top issue they want the next president to address. (The second issue on the list from respondents in both states was health care access and affordability.)

Latinos have been hit harder than most by the ongoing crisis. From a health perspective, Latinos have contracted COVID-19 at a higher rate than members of other racial and ethnic groups. In Florida, for example, Latinos make up a quarter of the population, but account for 35% of the state’s confirmed cases.

And then there’s the economic impact of the pandemic, which has negatively impacted many Latino families’ financial situation. In our polling, roughly half of respondents reported that they or someone in their household had lost a job or taken a pay cut because of the coronavirus crisis, while a similar number had trouble affording essential expenses like housing, food and medicine. At the same time, a quarter said they had lost employer health benefits and one in five reported having to close a family business in the last month or so.

Latinos hold Trump responsible for his mishandling of the health crisis…

Even more so than other demographic groups, Latino voters hold Trump directly responsible for allowing the virus to spiral out of control and disapprove of his administration’s handling of the ensuing crisis.

More than two-thirds of poll respondents said they agreed that Trump “ignored early warning signs of coronavirus, and because of his delays and incompetent response, thousands of Americans are now sick and dying.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, Latinos also give the president low marks for his management of the crisis: his approval rating on the coronavirus is significantly underwater with these voters in both states, including a net disapproval of 24 points in Arizona (34%/58%) and 14 points in Florida (41%/55%).

And Latino voters see this as Trump’s mess to fix. When asked who is responsible for solving the problems created by the pandemic, 79% of Florida Latinos and 73% of Arizona Latinos point to the federal government — the top among a list of other potential actors, such as state and local government, private businesses and individuals, and doctors, medical experts and scientists. This suggests that Trump’s favored strategy of shifting blame to anyone and everyone else is a failing one.

…And Democrats have an opportunity to tie Trump’s mishandling of the health crisis to the resulting economic crisis

Trump is not a popular figure among Latino voters. In addition to his poor marks on managing the coronavirus, just 32% of Arizona Latinos and 42% of Florida Latinos approve of how he is handling his job as president, with only 26% and 38% of respondents in each state viewing him favorably, respectively.

But Trump continues to outperform his overall unpopularity on at least one issue: the economy. In one of the few instances where his numbers are above water, 50% of Florida Latinos approve of the president’s handling of the economy, compared to 44% who disapprove. Trump doesn’t fare quite as well in Arizona, where only 38% approve of his performance on this issue — but even these meager numbers outpace the dismal ratings for his overall job performance and handling of other issues, such as coronavirus response and health care.

While these numbers may not constitute a legitimate strength for Trump, they do represent one of his few remaining lifelines with Latinos, as it appears some voters do not yet fully hold him accountable for the negative economic effects caused by his incompetent response to the pandemic. At a time when so many Latino families are experiencing outsized financial hardship, it is important for Democrats to continue to draw a direct line between Trump’s failure to contain the health crisis and the ensuing economic fallout that is currently wreaking havoc on their personal finances.

That includes framing the choice on the economy for voters in personal terms. In the survey, when Latino voters were asked which candidate would be better at “helping workers and small businesses that are hurting because of the coronavirus outbreak,” Joe Biden holds a substantial lead over Trump — 13 points in Florida and 26 in Arizona.

By connecting the health crisis that Latino voters already hold Trump responsible for directly to the personal financial difficulties facing their families, Democrats can successfully erode Trump’s remaining strength on the economy.

Latinos believe Biden has the temperament and traits to lead us out of this crisis

Like most Americans, Latinos are looking for a leader who can guide the country out of the current crisis — and Joe Biden appears to possess the traits and temperament they seek.

When survey respondents are presented with a list of qualities people may look for in a president and asked which candidate would be better on each, Biden outpaces Trump by large, double-digit margins on several key, coronavirus-related indicators — such as having the right temperament for the job, providing the kind of leadership the country needs, and protecting the public’s health in an emergency.

And yet, while many Latinos already have warm feelings toward Biden, there is still ample room to grow and solidify his support as the campaign continues. While 55% of Arizona Latinos and 54% Florida Latinos view Biden favorably overall, roughly one in five are either neutral toward the former vice president or haven’t heard enough about him yet to form an opinion.

As Biden has more time to continue to introduce himself to this diverse community, Latino voters will have more opportunities to familiarize themselves with his personal story and vision for the country — deepening his already strong support among this crucial group of voters who could prove decisive in November.

About This Poll

Latino Decisions conducted this poll online April 23 – May 2, 2020, with a total sample of 1,805 registered Latino voters in Arizona and Florida, with representative state-level samples of the Latino electorate. This includes 802 voters in Arizona and 1,003 voters in Florida, with a margin of error of 3.5% and 3.1%, respectively.

Last week, Priorities announced that we have already raised $145 million this cycle — putting our organization firmly on track to spend over $200 million to defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden in November. We’ve already placed over $80 million of TV and digital reservations through November, and Priorities is spending over a million dollars a week to hold Trump accountable on TV and digital platforms in key battleground states.Virtually every major poll this year has shown Donald Trump losing to Joe Biden in Arizona, a state that hasn’t voted blue in a presidential election since 1996. As support for Trump wanes among seniors, a key demographic in his electoral coalition, the Trump campaign is spending more money in states like Arizona and Florida where the senior vote could be decisive. The Trump campaign spending surge in Arizona confirms recent analysis by the Biden campaign that the Grand Canyon State is solidly in play.

Support for the GOP among seniors has seen a sustained decline in the midst of Trump’s failure to protect American lives from the deadly coronavirus, the effects of which have hit Americans over 65 especially hard. Trump’s constant lies about the threat of the virus and his focus on corporate tax cuts over vital public health measures continue to hurt him with key voters. To date, Priorities has spent over $14 million specifically on telling the truth about Donald Trump’s failure to respond to the pandemic. 

Priorities has consistently outspent the Trump campaign in battleground states since July 2019:


In response to Donald Trump’s continuous disregard for American lives, Priorities USA Action released new TV and digital ads telling Americans the truth about Trump’s pattern of downplaying and lying about the threat of the coronavirus to protect himself politically while putting the American people at unnecessary risk.

Almost 100,000 Americans have died because of the coronavirus, yet Donald Trump is still employing the same tactics to downplay, obfuscate and lie about the effects of the virus that has caused so much needless devastation for the last three months. “Way Down,” running on TV in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, tells the truth about Donald Trump’s failed attempts to lie his way out of accountability for his chaotic leadership.


Priorities launched a series of new digital ads with voices from experts and medical professionals on the front lines expressing frustration that Trump didn’t listen to the needs of those who are being hit hardest by this crisis. “Wasted Time,” “Great Job” and “Didn’t Listen” highlight Trump’s failure to act effectively after multiple warnings about the threat of the coronavirus, putting frontline workers at unnecessary risk.

In times of crisis, honest leadership and swift action is critical. Trump failed to meet the moment.

Even after multiple warnings from intelligence officials, medical experts, and members of his own administration, Trump refused to take the threat of the coronavirus seriously. Time that could have been spent increasing our national stockpile of medical supplies, implementing social distancing measures, and expanding our testing capacity was instead spent downplaying the virus and making unsubstantiated claims that it would simply “go away.”


Trump and his Republican allies have been out to strip Americans of life-saving health care protections provided by the Affordable Care Act since the beginning of his presidency. Now, even during what his own administration has described as a “public health emergency,” Donald Trump is still trying to cut funding for Medicare and overturn the ACA in court.

Pause” is running on digital platforms in battleground states and holds Trump accountable for his continuous attacks on our health care.