Latino Leaders on Trump, Eleven Months into Office
By Angelo Falcón
The NiLP Report
Latino leaders continue to view President Trump in profoundly negative terms eleven months into his first term. This is the overall finding of a national survey of 322 Latino opinion leaders conducted in November 2017. This online survey, the National Latino Opinion Leaders Survey, conducted by the nonpartisan National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP) provides a unique view on the opinions of the nation's Latino community leadership not available elsewhere.
C O N T E N T S
While there was a general consensus on how different national-origin groups of Latino leaders viewed Trump and his policies, this survey also reveals differences between them. While in his overall approval rating was overwhelmingly negative for all the Latino groups, Trump's disapproval ratings grew sharply for the Mexican and Other Latino opinion leaders but decreased slightly for the Puerto Ricans.
The percentage of Latino opinion leaders thinking Trump would "definitely be impeached" was low (none to 7 percent) in his eleventh month in office. These represented lowered expectations that he would "definitely be impeached" for all three groups of Latino leaders from a survey conducted in his sixth month in office. These falling impeachment expectations are interesting considering the growing media attention to the Mueller investigation and other indicators of a increased likelihood of impeachment. This was also interesting in light of the large majority of all three groups of Latino opinion leaders (67 to 75 percent) feeling that Trump's relationship to Russia is "something illegal." These lowered impeachment expectations could also reflect the realization that the Republican-controlled Congress would not support such a proceeding against Trump.
Trump's Overall Performance
The Latino opinion leaders gave Trump overwhelming high disapproval ratings for this overall handling of the job of President. These ranged from 88 percent "very strongly disapprove" for the Puerto Rican opinion leaders, 92 percent for the Mexicans, and 94 percent for the Other Latinos. This is in comparison to the survey we conducted in July, this "very strongly disapprove" rating rose sharply for the Mexican opinion leaders (from 83 percent) and Other Latinos (from 86 percent), but decreased slightly for Puerto Ricans (from 90 percent). The reasons for this difference are not entirely clear, except for the possible impact of the Puerto Rico hurricane crisis and the federal relief response seen in a positive light by a small number of Puerto Rican opinion leaders, a position not shared at all by the Mexicans and Other Latinos.
Trump Performance by Policy Area/Issue
We got more specific and asked the Latino leaders if they approved or disapproved of the job Trump was doing in a number of policy areas and issues. These included the economy, foreign policy, terrorism, immigration issues, North Korean nuclear threat, Russian election interference, Cuban diplomatic relations, Latino community issues and the Puerto Rico crisis. We found a consistent overwhelming disapproval in all policy areas, ranging from 89 percent for his handling of terrorism to 98 percent for immigration issues, the Puerto Rico crisis and Latino community issues. In other words, the Latino leaders were most negative on Trump's handling of Latino-focused issues. He received the highest approval ratings for his handling of terrorism, and this was only 7 percent from the Puerto Rican opinion leaders, 5 percent from the Mexicans and 4 percent from the Other Latinos.
Trump's Relationship with Russia
On the much discussed Trump relationship to Russia, the Latino opinion leaders were asked to characterize it. Large majorities viewed it as "something illegal." This was the view of 75 percent of the Mexican opinion leaders, 69 percent of the Puerto Ricans, and 67 percent of the Other Latinos. The next largest percentage had no opinion, preferring to wait for the results of the Mueller investigation: 22 percent of the Other Latino opinion leaders, 14 percent of the Puerto Ricans and 7 percent of the Mexicans.
Latinos and Trump Resistance
Some efforts to resist Trump policies have grown throughout the country such as the Women's March and Indivisible. The Latino opinion leaders were asked if the Latino community was adequately represented in these efforts. Only tiny percentages thought that Latinos were adequately represented: 3 percent of the Mexican opinion leaders, 6 percent of the Other Latinos, and 11 percent of the Puerto Ricans. The largest percentage of the Other Latino opinion leaders, 16 percent, felt that these efforts were "not relevant to Latinos," compared to 8 percent of the Mexicans and 5 percent of the Puerto Ricans. Regarding those Latino leaders stating they had never heard of these groups, the Puerto Rican (12 percent) and Other Latino (12 percent) opinion leaders were in this category, compared to 10 percent of the Mexicans.
More Latinos Running for Office?
In response to Trump policies, the Latino opinion leaders were asked if they thought that more Latinos were now running for public office. A plurality of the Mexican opinion leaders (44 percent) thought so, while pluralities of the Puerto Ricans (45 percent) and Other Latinos (42 percent) stated they saw no difference in the number of Latinos running for office.
Trump's Likelihood of Impeachment
Eleven months into his first term, the Latino opinion leaders were asked what they thought the likelihood of Trump being impeached was. Assuming he will "definitely be impeached" were 7 percent of the Mexican opinion leaders, 6 percent of the Puerto Ricans and none of the Other Latinos. Thinking that it was "not likely" that he would be impeached were 38 percent of the Puerto Rican opinion leaders, 36 percent of the Mexicans and 29 percent of the Other Latinos.
Compared to our July survey, six months into Trump's first term, the percentage thinking he would "definitely be impeached: went sharply down for the Mexican opinion leaders (from 11 percent), and went down slightly for Puerto Ricans (from 5 percent) and Other Latinos (from 2 percent). This could be the result of Mexicans being the Latino group most targeted by Trump's racist remarks, his Mexico wall rhetoric and attacking Mexico over NAFTA. Overall, this could also be the result of their reaslization that a Republican Congress would not be willing to conduct impeachment proceedings against Trump.
This survey reveals a continuing and broad rejection by Latino leaders of the Trump Presidency as he completes his first year in office. This is accompanied by lessening expectations by these leaders of his impeachment, despite feeling that his relationship to Russia is illegal.
There also appears to be a disconnect in the minds of these Latino leaders between the Trump resistance movement and the Latino community. They fell that these resistance efforts have not adequately represented Latinos and they are mixed on whether there are more Latino running for public office as a result.
If the Latino leaders' perceptions are correct, it would appear that the Latino community reaction to Trump is displaying a disconnect from that of other segments of the Democratic coalition. The so-clad resistance may not be sufficiently incorporating Latinos, making the Democratic Party's challenges in mobilizing Latino voters for the 2018 elections more considerable than the Trump backlash was expected to produce by itself.
This survey was conducted on November 16-22, 2017 and includes 322 respondents from throughout the United States Since this is not a scientifically derived sample of community leaders, our results are only suggestive but we believe they can be useful in putting the issues involved in some context. The pool for these respondents is made up of experienced Latino professionals and academics in all fields. Please note that their views are not generalizable to the entire Latino adult population in the United States but may be to this particular activist/professional stratum.
The National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP) has been trying to track elite Latino opinion on the Trump Administration through our National Latino Opinion Leaders Survey. Previous to the current survey, we conducted one in March, May and July also focusing on Trump. The purpose is to see if Latino leadership views of this Administration have worsened, improved or stayed the same. This approach is an effort to go beyond the opinion of only specific individuals and organizations to a wider range of leaders from throughout the country.
To our knowledge, no comparable ongoing survey of Latino opinion leaders exists at present. The National Latino Opinion Leaders Survey, therefore, is a unique resource that provides yet another window into the views of this important segment of the national electorate. Because there are no clear parameters for determining the precise demographic mix of Latino opinion leaders, we do not report on the results of this survey for the total respondents but rather report on specific subsets. The main subsets we use consists of the main racial-ethnic groups represented --- Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and Other Latinos (which consists of other Central and South Americans).
Angelo Falcón is President of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP). He can be reached at email@example.com.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________The NiLP Report on Latino Policy & Politics is an online information service provided by the National Institute for Latino Policy. For further information, visit www.latinopolicy. org. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.