In hypothetical general election tossups, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads her potential Republican rivals among registered voters nationally. Clinton does best against businessman Donald Trump, leading him by 13 points. Her closest competitor, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, trails Clinton by just four points. Among Latino voters, Clinton outpaces Trump by 47 points, Cruz by 33 points, and Rubio and Bush by 30 points. President Barack Obama carried the Latino vote in 2012 over Republican nominee Mitt Romney by 44 points.
If Vice President Joe Biden enters the contest and wins the Democratic Party’s nomination, he would also lead his possible Republican rivals. Biden does best against Trump, leading him by 18 points. His closest competition comes from Rubio and Bush who he leads by 8 points. Biden is the overwhelming favorite among Latino voters. He leads Trump by 51 points, Cruz by 30 points, and Bush by 27 points. He is ahead of Rubio by only 14 points.
When it comes to perceptions of the candidates, Latinos, 55%, are more likely than Americans, overall, 42%, to view Clinton positively. Latinos are also more likely to think that Clinton is helping the image of the Democratic Party. Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont suffers from low name recognition. And, much talk has centered around whether or not Vice President Joe Biden will enter the presidential contest. If he does, Americans’ perceptions of Biden are more positive than negative.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump has the highest negatives, especially among Latinos. Americans are not satisfied with Trump’s impact on the image of the GOP party, are not overjoyed with the candidate’s comments, and are not sold on the idea that Trump is the type of leader the nation needs now.
Ben Carson has the highest positive rating among the presidential GOP contenders. With the exception of Jeb Bush, many of the other Republican candidates suffer from low name recognition, especially among Latinos.
When it comes to the issue most likely to impact Americans’ vote, jobs and economy are the determining factor for, both, the general population and Latinos. However, Latinos are more likely to cite immigration.
“Although the general election is a long way off, whether or not the GOP can connect with Latino voters is an important part of the 2016 narrative,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Bush, Cruz, and Rubio narrow the GOP’s margin among these voters from 2012 when matched against either Clinton or Biden. Trump, who is not well liked among many Latinos, widens it.”
General Election Prospects
- Clinton leads Trump, 53% to 40%, among registered voters nationally. Among Latino voters, Clinton has 69% to 22% for Trump.
- Clinton is ahead of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, 52% to 41%, among registered voters. Clinton leads Cruz, 62% to 29%, among the Latino electorate.
- Against Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Clinton’s lead narrows to 6 points nationally. She receives the support of 50% of registered voters to 44% for Rubio. Among Latino voters, Clinton has a 30 point lead against Rubio, 61% to 31%.
- Bush is the most competitive Republican against Clinton. Clinton edges Bush, 49% to 45%, among registered voters nationwide. However, Clinton leads Bush by two-to-one, 60% to 30%, among the Latino electorate.
- Biden has an even wider lead over Trump, 56% to 38%, among registered voters. Biden is ahead of Trump by 51 points, 71% to 20%, among Latino voters.
- Against Cruz, Biden has a 15 point advantage, 54% to 39%, among the national electorate. Among Latino voters, Biden outpaces Cruz, 57% to 27%.
- Biden has an eight point lead against Rubio, 50% to 42%. Biden has only a 14 point lead against Rubio, 50% to 36%, among Latino voters.
- Biden is also ahead of Bush by 8 points. Biden garners the support of 50% of the national electorate compared with 42% for Bush. Among Latino voters, Biden has a 27 point advantage, 57% to 30%, against Bush.
Perceptions of the Candidates
How do Americans and Latinos view the key players in the presidential contest?
Looking at the Democratic side, Latinos, 55%, are more likely than Americans, overall, 42%, to have a positive opinion of Hillary Clinton. Latinos are also more likely than the general population to perceive Clinton as helping the image of the Democratic Party.
Bernie Sanders is not a household name for a notable proportion of Americans, 34%. This includes 52% of Latinos who do not offer an opinion about him. And, when it comes to Joe Biden, he is viewed more positively than negatively.
Donald Trump has the highest negatives among Americans, 55%, and especially Latinos, 70%, of any of the public figures measured. And, while Trump’s demeanor is not overwhelmingly viewed favorably by Americans, overall, Latinos are more likely to frown upon Trump’s impact on the Republican brand and his manner. Latinos are also more inclined than Americans, overall, to say Trump is not the kind of leader the nation needs now.
With the exception of Jeb Bush, many of the other Republican candidates suffer from low name recognition, especially among Latinos. However, Bush receives mixed reviews. He generates neither overwhelmingly positive nor negative feelings among Americans or Latinos.
Clinton and Biden are well received among voters who identify as Democrats nationwide. Sanders is also favorably viewed by the party’s rank and file but is less well known to a national Democratic audience.
All of the Republican candidates for the presidential nomination measured in this survey have a higher positive than negative score among voters who consider themselves Republican. Ben Carson has the highest positive rating among the presidential GOP contenders. A majority of Republicans also have a positive impression of Rubio and Trump. Trump and Bush have higher negatives than the other Republican candidates. Scott Walker is the least well known of the field.
42% of Americans describe Clinton as having a negative impact on the image of the Democratic Party. Only 28% believe she is having a positive one. In contrast, a plurality of Latinos, 47%, thinks she is helping the party’s brand while just 19% say she is hurting it.
A majority of Americans, 52%, including 65% of Latinos, reports Trump is hurting the image of the Republican Party. 28% of Americans and only 13% of Latinos believe the Republican Party is benefitting from his candidacy. When it comes to Trump’s manner of speaking, Americans divide with 49% describing his comments as insulting and offensive and 45% saying he is telling it like it is. However, Latinos, 70%, overwhelmingly consider Trump’s comments to be offensive and insulting with just 26% saying his comments are on target. A majority of Americans, 53%, believe Trump is not the kind of leader the country needs now. This includes 69% of Latinos who have this view.
Prioritizing the Issues
Americans, 32%, including 31% of Latinos, cite jobs and the economy as the most important issue in determining their vote. Latinos, 24%, are more likely than Americans, 11%, overall, to place an emphasis on immigration as a central campaign issue.
- Registered voters nationally, 35%, and an identical share of Latino voters, consider jobs and the economy to be the most important factor in determining their vote for president. However, when looking at other key issues, immigration is of greater importance to Latino voters than American voters, overall. Among registered voters nationally, education, 14%, and health care, 12%, follow. Nine percent cite immigration while foreign policy, 7%, terrorism, 7%, and taxes, 6%, round out the list. For Latino voters, nearly one in five, 18%, mentions immigration followed closely by education at 16%.
Ready for a Woman or a Latino President?
Most Americans and Latinos think that the nation will be ready for a Latino or a woman president, if not now, than in the future.
- A majority of Americans, 56%, thinks the United States is ready for a Latino president, and an additional 29% believe the nation will be ready to embrace a Latino president in the future. Interestingly, Latinos, 49%, are slightly less likely to believe the nation is ready for a Latino president. Four in ten, 40%, however, do think the United States will embrace a Latino president in the future.
- About seven in ten Americans, 69%, including 63% of Latinos, believe the country is ready for a woman president. An additional 21% of U.S. residents and 27% of Latinos think that the nation will be ready for a woman president in the future, but not now.