Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump 62 percent to 26 percent among Latino registered voters nationally, but his lead trails Hillary Clinton’s advantage with this voting bloc at this same stage in 2016, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll released Sunday.
Biden is seen by the poll’s respondents as better at addressing concerns of the Latino community, 59 percent to 18 percent, and the candidates are near even on who is better at dealing with the economy, with 41 percent saying Biden and 39 percent choosing Trump.
Biden’s 36-point lead over Trump in the presidential contest shows Democrats still have strong backing in the community, which could help Biden in some states where the presidential race is tight.
“Biden’s Latino support is greater than his performance with all voters, 51 percent of which say they would vote for him over Trump,” said Aileen Cardona-Arroyo, a senior analyst at Hart Research which conducted the poll.
But it’s clear Biden has work to do with the Hispanic electorate. In a September 2016 NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll, Clinton led Trump 63 percent to 16 percent with registered Hispanic voters.
Latinos are the largest non-white group of eligible voters this election at 32 million. However, the National Association of Elected and Appointed Officials has projected that about 14.6 million will vote in this year’s election that will be held amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden’s greatest support with Hispanic registered voters is among those 18 years old to 39 years old — 71 percent of that group backs him.
Latinos between ages 18 to 35 are about 40 percent of eligible voters in the demographic, according to the Census Bureau. Young Latino turnout has generally been lower than that of other young voters, although Latino voters 18-29 increased their turnout in the 2018 midterms.
“If you are the Biden campaign, you are looking at this in terms of opportunity for turnout because we do know that younger cohort has lower turnout levels, so it’s an opportunity there to expand the electorate, but also requires a bit of investment there,” Cardona-Arroyo said.
Although younger voters tend to be more likely to vote Democratic, “they also are a group that has to have a larger investment in terms of turning them out to vote,” she said.
Trump has some slight traction with younger Latino men, as he has with younger men throughout the electorate, Cardona-Arroyo said. Thirty-one percent of Latino men are backing Trump over Biden Trump, compared with just 22 percent of Latinas.
The poll showed high interest among registered Latino voters in the Nov. 3 election, but not as high as registered voters overall.
Sixty-seven percent of the respondents ranked their interest on a scale of 1 to 10 as 9 or 10. That is lower than all registered voters (80 percent), but higher than in Sept. 2016 (when 60 percent of Latinos chose 9 or 10).
“Interest in the election tends to go hand-in-hand with whether people are going to turn out or not,” Cardona-Arroyo said, “something both campaigns should be thinking about.”
The results are based on an oversample of 300 registered Hispanic voters in the Sept. 13-16 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 70 percent of whom chose to be interviewed in English and 30 percent of whom chose Spanish, and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 5.66 percentage points.