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Correction: We have corrected an error in the attached tables where the Other Latino opinion leader ratings of organizations were inadvertently duplicated from the Puerto Rican ratings. The tables below that are part of the report narrative are correct.

Thanks to the staff of LatinJustice PRLDEF for pointing out this error. A good example of why they are seen by the Latino leadership as very effective!

National Latino Opinion Leaders Survey: July 2017

Latino Leaders on Trump, the Democrats, Latino Leadership and Some Issues

By Angelo Falcón

The NiLP Report


  • Latino leaders continue to be overwhelmingly negative towards Trump Administration but are mixed on the likelihood of his impeachment
  • The Latino leaders feel Tom Perez isn't making the Democratic Party more responsive to their community, but most want Latino voters to remain loyal to the party, and those who see need to shift to a third party have no consensus on which.
  • Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are viewed as the most popular politicians, more popular than Latino politicians
  • The Latino legal defense funds are seen as the most effective Latino organizations.
  • Latino leaders who support statehood for Puerto Rico are unsure the US Congress would grant it.
  • They overwhelming support a boycott of Texas in opposition to its sanctuary cities legislation.
  • The Latino leaders overwhelmingly support the Palestinian struggle for independence.


Trump Responsiveness
Trump Approval
Alex Acosta
Democratic Party
Tom Perez
Third Party
Which Third Party?
Popular Politicians
Effective Organizations
Puerto Rico
Boycott Texas?

As the Trump Administration moves beyond its first six months in office, this survey asks Latino opinion leaders about its responsiveness to Latinos and whether they think he will be impeached. On the other side, we ask about Democratic Party outreach to Latinos and the Latino opinion leaders' feelings about the need for Latinos to support a third party.

The issue of the role of Latino leadership under Trump is also addressed in this survey along two dimensions: the popularity of high-profile national Latino and non-Latino politicians, and perceptions of the effectiveness of leading national Latino organizations in dealing with issues raised by the Trump White House. Finally the survey explores some salient issues: should Texas be boycotted over SB4, should Puerto Rico become a state, and do the Latino opinion leaders support the Palestinian struggle for independence?

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 Marchand May 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 subset we use consists of the main racial-ethnic groups represented --- Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and Other Hispanics (which includes other Central and South Americans).

This survey was conducted on July 5-10, 2017 and includes 242 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.

In this analysis, we refer rom time to time to the results of earlier NiLP surveys. To make it easier to read, we have collapsed these previous results to all Latino opinion leaders when this total accurately reflects a common opinion among all three groups of Latino opinion leaders --- Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Other Latinos.

TrumpTrump Responsiveness

ApprovalTrump Approval. The Latino opinion leaders continued to be overwhelmingly negative toward President Trump. In our May survey, 93 percent disapproved of the job he was doing. In the current survey, he was disapproved by 92-94 percent of the Latino opinion leaders.

AlexAlex Acosta. Taking the only Latino in the Trump Cabinet as an example, the Latino opinion leaders were asked if the Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, was effectively advocating for Latino interests. In our May survey only 8 percent thought he would be adequately responsive to the needs of the Latino community. In the current survey, only 2-5 percent of the Latino opinion leaders thought he was an effective advocate on Latino issues within the Trump Administration.

ImpeachImpeachment. With six months in office to assess, the Latino opinion leaders were asked what they thought would be the likelihood of President Trump being impeached. In our May survey, 80 percent thought very strongly and somewhat that he should be impeached. In the current survey, however, 57-61 percent of the Latino opinion leaders felt that Trump was likely to be impeached, a much lower level than their feeling that he should be impeached.

DemDemocratic Party

TomTom Perez. The Latino opinion leaders have been negative about the Democratric Party's outreach to the Latino community. We now asked them to assess the impact of the first Latino to chair the party, Tom Perez. In March, they were very mixed about whether they thought his election as DNC Chair would make the party more responsivve to the Latino community: 33 percent thought it would be more responsivce, 29 percent that it wouldn't, and 38 percent didn't know or were not sure. In our May survey, 80 percent felt that the Democratic Party was not adequately reaching out to the Latino community.

In the current survey, asked if Perez has made the Democratic Party more responsive to the Latino community, only 1-9 percent of the Latino opinion leaders felt he has. The Puerto Rican opinion leaders were the most negative toward Perez, with 56 percent feeling that he has not made the party more responsive or has made the situation worse. This is compared to 24 percent of the Mexicans and 34 percent of the Other Latinos.

ThirdThird Party. Considering the general discontent with the Democratic Party, the Latino opinion leaders were asked if they thought Latinos should shift loyalties to a third political party. The Mexican opinion leaders gave the least support to switching partes, with 26 percent supporting such a move compared to 45 percent of the Puerto Ricans and 42 percent of the Other Latinos. The Mexican opinion leaders were also the most undecided about switching (23 percent), compared to the Puerto Ricans (10 percent) and the Other Latinos (12 percent).

WhichWhich Third Party. Those Latino opinion leaders feeling the need to switch to a third party were also asked to identify which party that would be. The largest percentage (46-61 percent) didn't know which party. The third party getting the most support from the Latino opinion leaders was Bernie Sanders' Peoples Party (20-32 percent), a party that doesn't exist yet. It was followed, far behind, by the La Raza Unida Party (3-9 percent), a party that has not been in operation for over three decades.


PoliticiansPopular Politicians. The Latino opinion leaders have identified a national Latino leadership vacuum udner President Trump. To take a different look at thisquestion, we presented the Latino opinion leaders with a number of national politicians who have been in the news to see which they approved and disapproved of.

Contrary to some expectations, the Latino opinion leaders gave non-Latino polticians higher favorability ratings than Latinos. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren consistently were rated most favorably by the three groups of Latino opinion leaders. Among the Latino politicians, Julian Castro and Luis Gutierez were the most popular.

Again contrary to expections, Donald Trump did not get the highest disapproval ratings by all three groups pf Latino opinion leaders. The Mexican Opinion leaders were most disapproving of Jared Kushner, the Puerto Ricans of Ted Cruz, and the Other Latinos of Donald Trump.

The two politicians the Latino opinion leaders didn't recognize the most were Helen Aguirre Ferre and Steve Cortes. This is interesting because theyare both major Trump spokepersons one would think would have greater recognition by the Latino opinion leaders.

To see the full list of politicians rated, click here.

OrganizationsEffective Organizations. The front line in the resistance to the Trump Administration are the national Latino civic organizations. The Latino opinion leaders were presented with a list of the more prominent groups in this category and asked to rate the effectivenss of each in addressing issues raised by Trump, including whether or not they have heard of the organization. In our May survey, 77 percent thought that the Latino leadership overall was not being forceful enough in resisting Trump policies that were harmful to the Latino community.

The organizations that are seen as most effective by the Latino opinion leaders are MALDEF, NCLR (now UnidosUS) and LatinoJustice PRLDEF. It is significant that two of the three organizations thought by them to most effective as legal defense funds.

For the Mexican opinion leaders, their pick for the top most effective are organizations with roots in the Mexican-American community, while for Puerto Ricans the top one has its roots in the Puerto Rican community, but the next two are those with Mexican-American roots. For the Other Latinos there is a greater mix.

The Latino opinion leaders were most negative toward the conservative, religious and business organizations such as The Libre Initiative and the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The organizations with the lowest national recognition (by those stating they never heard of it or didn't know or were unsure) are the Dominican-American National Roundtable, The Libre Initiative, the Cuban American National Council, the National Puerto Rican Coalition, and the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project. This could be for a range of reasons depending on the organization. These could include ideological differences, the more local or regional focus of the group, the organization's focus on its own national-origin group, or an organization's inactivity.

To see the full list of organizations rated, click here.


PuertoPuerto Rico. Currently, the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricard Rosselló, and his political party, the New Prorgessive Party, are conducting a campaign to press the United States Congress to admit Puerto Rico as the 51st state. The Latino opinion leaders were asked if they support statehood for Puerto Rico or not.

Support for statehood was stronglest among the Mexican opinion leaders (55 percent). This is in comparison to 35 percent of the Puerto Ricans and 33 percent of the Other Latinos. However, of those supporting statehood, large percentages didn't think the US Congress would grant it: 42 percent of the pro-statehood Mexican opinion leaders, 52 percent of the Puerto Ricans, and 72 percent of the Other Latinos.

TexasBoycott Texas? The adoption by the State of Texas of Senate Bill 4 outlawing so-called "Sanctuary Citities" by instituting "show me your papers" rules is soon to take effect in September. There have been protests and legal challenges from Latinos and others over this legislation. A number of Latino leaders and organzations have called for a boycott with doing business with Texas that would include not holding conventions and other events in the state.

The Latino opinion leders were asked whether or not they supported such a boycott. All three groups of Latino opinion leaders overwhelmingly supported it (73-88 Percent). The Puerto Rican opinion leaders had the highest percentage of those who didn't know enough about this issue to comment (15 percent), compared to 2 percent of the Mexicans and none of the Other Latinos.

PalestiniansPalestinians. We have looked in the past into Latino opinion leaders' views on Israel and on anti-Semitism. In this survey, we asked them their views on the other side of the conflict in the Middle East, the Palestinian struggle for independence.

All three groups of Latino opinion leaders were overwhelmingly supportive of the Palestinian struggle (79-83 percent). Of those responding that they were more supportive of Israel, the Mexican opinion leaders had the much highet percentage indicating so (13 percent) than the Puerto Ricans (3 percent) and the Other Latinos (5 percent).

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 editor@latinopolicy.org.