Posted on April 6, 2021

Trump’s Latino Support Was More Widespread Than Thought, Report Finds

Giovanni Russonello and Patricia Mazzei, New York Times, April 2, 2021

Even as Latino voters played a meaningful role in tipping the Senate and the presidency to the Democrats last year, former President Donald J. Trump succeeded in peeling away significant amounts of Latino support, and not just in conservative-leaning geographic areas, according to a post-mortem analysis of the election that was released on Friday.

Conducted by the Democratically aligned research firm Equis Labs, the report found that certain demographics within the Latino electorate had proved increasingly willing to embrace Mr. Trump as the 2020 campaign went on, including conservative Latinas and those with a relatively low level of political engagement.

Using data from Equis Labs’ polls in a number of swing states, as well as focus groups, the study found that within those groups, there was a shift toward Mr. Trump across the country, not solely in areas like Miami or the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where the growth in Mr. Trump’s Latino support has been widely reported.

“In 2020, a segment of Latino voters demonstrated that they are more ‘swing’ than commonly assumed,” the report stated.

Ultimately, Mr. Trump outperformed his 2016 showing among Latino voters, earning the support of about one in three nationwide, even as Joseph R. Biden Jr. won those voters by a roughly two-to-one margin over all, according to exit polls.

All told, close to 17 million Latino voters turned out in the general election, according to a separate analysis published in January by the U.C.L.A. Latino Policy & Politics Initiative. That represented an uptick of more than 30 percent from 2016 — and the highest level of Latino participation in history.

With the coronavirus pandemic and the related economic downturn taking center stage on the campaign trail, Equis Labs found that many Latino voters — particularly conservatives — had focused more heavily on economic issues than they had four years earlier. This helped Mr. Trump by putting the spotlight on an issue that was seen as one of his strong suits and by drawing some attention away from his anti-immigrant language.


The movement toward Mr. Trump appeared mostly “to be among those with the lowest partisan formation,” the analysts wrote. “We know enough to say these look like true swing voters. {snip}”

Chuck Coughlin, a Republican pollster in Arizona, said he was unsurprised by the results of the Equis Labs report, given what he said had been a concerted effort by the Trump campaign to win Latino support.


He said the Trump campaign’s messaging on economic and social issues had resonated for many Latino voters, particularly older ones. “They’re pro-business, they’re pro-gun, they don’t like higher taxes, they don’t trust the government,” he said. “It’s the same constituency that you see among Anglo Trump voters.”