A new nationwide poll of registered Hispanic voters shows that President Biden beats former President Trump by 58% to 31% of voters’ preferences. Still, it’s not great news for Biden, or for the Democrats.
The poll, conducted by Univision, shows that Biden has fallen eight percentage points among Hispanic voters since the Spanish-language network conducted a similar survey three years ago. In Sept. 2020, Biden was leading Trump by 66% to 31%.
The new survey was billed as the largest among Hispanics in the current election cycle. It measured the preferences of 1,400 Hispanic voters, including 625 who identified themselves as Republicans.
At first glance, I’m mystified by the fact that 31% of U.S. Hispanics would vote for Trump, the darling of America’s anti-immigrant zealots, xenophobes and racists.
Trump started his 2016 campaign for the presidency saying that most Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists and as recently as last week announced plans to carry out “the largest domestic deportation operation in American history” if he is elected in 2024.
While it’s true that the United States faces a rise in the flow of undocumented migrants, Trump did little to solve it while he was president and is still not proposing any viable solution to the problem.
He has steadfastly refused to support comprehensive immigration reform supported by Democrats and moderate Republicans. The proposal would provide more funds to secure the border and simultaneously give millions of undocumented immigrants who have lived here and paid taxes for decades a path to citizenship.
It’s as if Trump wanted to keep the immigration problem alive to score political points with racists in his base.
Trump and most of his fellow Republican hopefuls even refuse to regularize the legal status of the so-called DREAMers, brought to this country as infants and young children many years ago by their parents.
But, even if we disregard the immigration issue, Trump’s political agenda goes directly against the beliefs of most Hispanics, including those who identify themselves as Republicans.
On key issues such as affirmative action, abortion, climate change, gun-safety measures to prevent mass shootings or bans on school textbooks that teach the history of abuses against African Americans and Latinos, Trump’s positions go against what most Hispanics want.
Gun safety, for instance, is the second most important issue for Hispanics, after the cost of living, according to the Univision poll. Gun safety has become increasingly important for Hispanics since the mass shootings at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and the El Paso and Uvalde mass shootings in Texas.
While Trump has not supported bills to prohibit the use of semi-automatic assault weapons, as was done between 1994 and 2004, 72% of Hispanic voters would support a federal ban on semi-automatic assault weapons, including 47% of Hispanic Republicans, according to the Univision poll.
Even more mystifying is why many Venezuelans, Cubans and Nicaraguans in Florida, who fled some of the world’s most brutal dictatorships, support a wannabe-authoritarian like Trump, believing Republicans’ ridiculous claims that Biden and the Democrats are socialists. In addition to embracing dictators of Russia and North Korea, he tried to stage a coup in America after he lost the 2020 election.
All of this begs the question: Why, despite Trump’s openly anti-Hispanic agenda, do 31% of Hispanics still support the former president. The answer is that the No. 1 issue for Hispanic voters is inflation, according to the Univision poll. Fifty-one percent of Hispanics say the cost of living is their biggest concern, and some still believe that Trump, who comes from the business world, can best solve it.
Here’s my prediction for the 2024 election, if it ends up being a contest between Biden and Trump, as seems increasingly likely.
If inflation remains under control, and gas prices at the pump remain flat or fall, Biden wins a second term, because all the other issues — affirmative action, abortion, gun safety, etc. — will rise to the forefront among Hispanics and many other voting blocs.
But if inflation rises, Trump wins. As simple as that.
Don’t miss the “Oppenheimer Presenta” TV show on Sundays at 9 pm E.T. on CNN en Español. Blog: www.andresoppenheimer.com