Latino support for Clinton reaches historic high nationally


Support for Trump drops in days following first presidential debate

Support for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton reached an all-time high among Latino voters nationally last week, with more than 83 percent indicating they would vote for her, according to the New Latino Voice poll.

Meanwhile, support for Republican Donald Trump among Latinos decreased in Florida in the days following the first presidential debate, according to the weekly public opinion poll conducted by FIU in partnership with mobile advertising company Adsmovil.

“This might be called the Machado effect,” said Eduardo Gamarra, political science professor at FIU and director of the Latino Public Opinion Forum, referring to the exchange between Clinton and Trump about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, who was mocked by Trump candidate for her weight.

Still, the decrease in support for Trump is probably the result of a combination of a number of missteps by his campaign, Gamarra said. Revelations that Trump may have violated the Cuban embargo may have contributed to the drop, particularly in South Florida, he said.

“Support for Trump in Miami-Dade dropped 5 percent this week,’’ Gamarra said. “This could be the result of both the presidential debate and revelations about his alleged violation of the embargo.’’

Not only have Clinton’s numbers spiked nationally, she has also regained support in Florida and Miami-Dade County, returning to her historical average of 77 percent since the poll began, up from 58 percent the week prior to the debate.

“The debate appears to have helped Clinton get back on track, returning to her historical poll average in Florida,” Gamarra said.

In Miami-Dade County, support for Clinton among Latinos rose to 71 percent – in comparison with last week’s results which showed 61 percent supporting her.

Despite the post-debate drop, support for Trump among Latinos in Miami-Dade remains high, with 20 percent indicating they would vote for him. Among respondents over age 65, support for Trump was even higher, at 27 percent. Statewide, 18 percent of Latino voters support Trump, compared to just 11 percent nationally.

“Florida is an important swing state in our presidential elections,’’ said Brian Fonseca, director of the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy, which oversees the Latino Public Opinion Forum. “These results show that Florida once again could be key deciding the next president of the United States.”

Immigration and the economy continue to be the most important issues cited as affecting Latinos, though security concerns continue to rise.

“This week’s score (related to security) is second only to the sentiment among Latinos following the Orlando massacre,’’ Gamarra said. “Recent events in New York and elsewhere have also had an impact on how Latinos perceive the most serious issues.”

To gain a better understanding of Latino opinions and their impact, FIU’s Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs and the Gordon Institute launched the Latino Public Opinion Forum earlier this year. It is the first university initiative in Florida to systematically study the growth and impact of the Latino population.

To date, FIU and Adsmovil –  which specializes in reaching Latinos in the U.S using geolocation technology through mobile devices – have conducted 25 weekly polls, reaching more than 200,000 Latinos in the U.S.