- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 21, 2016

Donald Trump would win just 11 percent of the Hispanic vote in key battleground states in a matchup with Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, according to a new poll released Thursday by immigrant rights advocates that underscores just how intent Latinos are on punishing Mr. Trump for his strict stances.

He has a staggering 87 percent unfavorable rating in the poll, conducted by Latino Decisions on behalf of America’s Voice. And in a head-to-head matchup with Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump loses the Hispanic vote 76-11.

Sen. Ted Cruz, by contrast, would do more than twice as well, losing to Mrs. Clinton by 64-29 in a hypothetical matchup.

Overall, Democrats are viewed far more generously by Hispanics, with 47 percent saying the party has become more welcoming in recent years. They also give President Obama high job approval ratings of 73 percent — despite continued complaints that he’s set records for deportation.

Republicans, meanwhile, appear poised for a disastrous showing among Hispanics in November, judging by the poll of 2,200 registered Latino voters.

Many GOP analysts attribute 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s loss in large part to a poor showing among Hispanic voters, thanks to a strict stance calling for deportations. Mr. Romney won just 27 percent of their vote nationwide.

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Mr. Trump has insisted he will do fine among Hispanic voters, despite his even stricter stance.

But a striking number of Hispanics told the pollsters they’re more eager to vote in 2016 than in the past precisely so they can stop Mr. Trump and push back against what they see as anti-immigrant sentiment in the political conversation.

“This election cycle has injected immigration into the national political debate in an unprecedented way and this polling brings home in stark reality the fact that Latino voters feel personally targeted by Donald Trump and the Republican Party as a whole,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a leading immigrant rights group. “The numbers do not bode well for the Republicans and the vision of the inclusive party they had hoped to build post-2012.”

Mr. Trump’s campaign didn’t respond to questions about the poll.

The Republican National Committee, after Mr. Romney’s defeat, commissioned a report to examine what went wrong. One of the study’s top conclusions was that the party’s leaders needed to shift both their rhetoric and their position on immigration, embracing legalization for illegal immigrants.

But this year’s presidential primary has gone the other direction, with Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz leading the way in calling for a crackdown on illegal immigration and even stricter limits on legal immigration.

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Led by Mr. Trump, both men have embraced building more of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and have called for illegal immigrants to face pressure here in the country.

Mr. Cruz, who was born to a Cuban father, would be the first Hispanic major party nominee — but even that did not spur much appreciation from Latino voters, according to the poll: Just 7 percent of those who said they were more eager to vote this time than before said they were driven by the chance to elect a Hispanic in general, or Mr. Cruz in particular.

The two founders of Latino Decisions, the company that conducted the poll, have ties to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, but the poll was taken by another principal in the firm and was orchestrated for America’s Voice.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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