Latino Decisions just released a new national poll, along with surveys from select states. Unfortunately, we don’t have Nevada specific numbers today. Still, it’s important for us to check in with one of America’s best polling outfits to get a better sense of how voters of color view the presidential election in light of all these recent developments.
Yes, voters of color matter. Here’s why.
As we and many others have been saying for years, the key reason why “we matter” here in Nevada is our diverse electorate that better reflects the full diversity of America than the other “early states” that get plenty of attention during primary/caucus season. And as we discussed back in April, the soon-to-be-official Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and soon-to-be-official vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris learned valuable lessons here in Nevada that undoubtedly help in “swing states” like Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina with large shares of black and brown voters.
So how are they doing? According to the overall polling landscape, and particularly once we notice very high-quality polls like those from Monmouth University (Biden +10 among registered voters), ABC News and The Washington Post (Biden +12), and NBC News and The Wall Street Journal (Biden +9), Biden’s on track to potentially surpass the popular vote margin in President Barack Obama’s 2008 victory.
According to Latino Decisions’ new national poll, which was supported by SOMOS US and UnidosUS, Biden’s overall advantage likely rests on a large 42% lead among Latinx voters: 66% for Biden, and only 24% for President Donald Trump. The poll was conducted August 7-15 amongst 1,488 registered voters and 1,842 Latinx Americans overall, and Latino Decisions held a press call this morning to reveal and discuss these results.
“Responding to COVID-19 is the gorilla at the table. It is a giant factor in Latino voters’ decision.”
– Dr. Gary Segura, Latino Decisions
So why is Biden so far ahead amongst Latinx voters? According to Latino Decisions, only 30% of Latinx Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even worse for Trump, only 22% of Latinx Americans trust Trump and 73% blame Trump for the severity of America’s COVID-19 outbreak.
As Latino Decisions co-founder and senior partner Gary Segura noted, “Responding to COVID-19 is the gorilla at the table. It is a giant factor in Latino voters’ decision.” Since May, the share of Latinx Americans who have friends and/or family who contracted COVID-19 has nearly doubled nationally, from 25% to 49%.
According to Latino Decisions, 83% of Latinx Americans have seen their workplaces shut down and/or lose income, 74% have lost work themselves or have seen family members lose jobs during the pandemic, and 85% have personally lost or witnessed family members lose health insurance coverage in the past five months.
“They’ve got a lot of work to do.”
– Janet Murguia, UnidosUS, on the Biden campaign’s Latinx voter outreach efforts
While Latino Decisions has been consistent in showing Trump maintaining more or less the same deficit that he and the Republican Party have had with Latinx voters since 2008, reporters and pundits have nonetheless wondered aloud why Biden and the Democratic Party are not doing better. This poll offers what may be a big clue: 64% of Latinx voters so far haven’t been contacted by any of the presidential campaigns, while just 24% have been contacted by the Biden campaign (and only 14% by the Trump campaign).
As UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguia bluntly stated, “I think even the Biden campaign will acknowledge they haven’t done as good of a job as they should have.” Earlier in the press call, Segura pointed to U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vermont) solid performance amongst Latinx voters during the early nominating contests (including here in Nevada!) as an example for Biden to look to now.
Murguia later added that she’s encouraged by the Biden campaign’s recent efforts to step up Latinx voter engagement: “They recognized that they needed to change. They needed to prioritize Latino voters.” Still, she added, “They’ve got a lot of work to do.”
“Tonight’s program will look like the ‘We the People’, the entire country.”
– Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-Louisiana), on tonight’s Democratic Convention programming
Just minutes after the Latino Decisions press call, the Biden campaign held their own Zoom press call to preview the week ahead for the first ever virtual Democratic National Convention. Though they didn’t directly address Murguia’s and Segura’s critiques on the Latino Decisions call, they were asked why tonight’s lineup includes so many (almost entirely white) “Republicans for Biden”, such as former Ohio Governor John Kasich and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, and possibly only a minute for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) to introduce Sanders.
Biden campaign co-chair and U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-Louisiana) responded, “The theme tonight is ‘We the People’. It’s not we the Democrats or we the Republicans or we the white people or we the black people. It’s for all the American people. […] Tonight’s program will look like the ‘We the People’, the entire country.”
To be fair, none other than Nevada’s own senior U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D) will also take part in tonight’s DNC program, along with actor and activist Eva Longoria, former First Lady Michelle Obama, House Democratic Whip James Clyburn (D-South Carolina), and a conversation between Biden and civil rights activists on “how America can move forward towards equality, fairness, and justice for all”. Still, these Latino Decisions numbers suggest that if anything, this week’s Democratic Convention programming may only scratch the surface of what Biden needs to do to cement his footing among voters of color.