The FINANCIAL — U.S. Hispanics are still getting to know most of the Republican contenders for president. At this point in the campaign, less than half have formed an opinion of any Republican candidate except Donald Trump and Jeb Bush. Partly because of this, Hispanics’ views of most GOP candidates range from mildly positive to mildly negative. The sole exception is Trump, whose favorable rating with Hispanics is deeply negative.
Gallup began tracking the images of all the major announced candidates for president nightly in early July. Since then, 14% of the roughly 650 Hispanics interviewed have said they view Trump favorably, while 65% have viewed him unfavorably, yielding a net favorable score of -51. This separates Trump from the next-most-unpopular Republicans among Hispanics — Rick Perry (-7), Ted Cruz (-7) and Jim Gilmore (-6), who are viewed far less negatively.
Bush presents the greatest contrast to Trump. Bush’s average 34% favorable and 23% unfavorable ratings among Hispanics since July give him a +11 net favorable score — the highest of any GOP candidate. The net favorable scores of Marco Rubio (+5), Carly Fiorina (+3), George Pataki (+3), Scott Walker (+2) and Ben Carson (+2) all tilt slightly positive, although none of these candidates is nearly as well-known among Hispanics as Trump and Bush.
In terms of familiarity, only Trump and Bush are recognized by a majority of Hispanics. Eight in 10 have formed an opinion of Trump and about six in 10 of Bush. Familiarity dwindles to roughly 40% for Rubio and Cruz, both Cuban-Americans, as well as for Perry and Chris Christie, but drops well below that for all the others. (See the full ratings in the tables at the end.)
Trump’s Image Among Hispanics as Negative in August as in July
Trump blasted Mexico in his June announcement speech, charging the United States’ neighbor to the south with intentionally sending criminals of various kinds over the border, and claiming that as president he would compel Mexico to pay for a border wall. Trump has not only stuck to these positions through two months of heavy criticism, but also has doubled down on them, saying all undocumented residents should be deported and that children born in the U.S. to immigrants in the country illegally should not receive automatic citizenship under the 14th Amendment.
Gallup did not measure Hispanics’ views of Trump prior to his presidential announcement, and thus can’t quantify how much the candidate’s initial remarks about immigrants and immigration have hurt him with U.S. Hispanics. However, since July, his image among Hispanics has remained highly negative, averaging -51 in July and -50 so far in August.
Meanwhile, an interesting shift in Hispanics’ ratings of Bush has occurred. His net favorable rating among Hispanics jumped from +1 in July (based on 28% viewing him favorably and 27% unfavorably) to +22 in August (41% favorable, 19% unfavorable), a significant change at a time when no other candidate’s image has shown much movement. This could reflect Hispanics’ support for Bush’s more moderate tone on immigration — at least before he referred to the children of illegal immigrants as “anchor babies.” These figures will serve as a valuable baseline to see whether the ongoing criticism of Bush for using the term “anchor babies” hurts him in the Hispanic community.
Clinton the Only Democrat Widely Known Among Hispanics
On the Democratic side, only Hillary Clinton is a familiar figure to a substantial segment of U.S. Hispanics. As a result, she is the only one with a sizable net favorable score. Three-quarters of Hispanics have an opinion of Clinton. With 58% viewing her favorably and 18% unfavorably, she has a net +40 favorable score. This is remarkably similar to Clinton’s image among Hispanics in advance of the 2008 presidential primaries, in June 2007, when 63% viewed her favorably and 20% unfavorably.
Bernie Sanders is the next-most-recognized Democrat, known to 25% of Hispanics. Nearly as many view Sanders unfavorably as favorably, giving him a +5 net favorable score. The other Democrats — Jim Webb, Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee — are each known to only 14% of Hispanics and, as a result, have even lower net favorable scores, ranging from +2 to -2.
Trump has a highly unfavorable image among U.S. Hispanics, but at least for now, this doesn’t seem to be tarnishing the rest of the Republican field. As of mid-August, Bush’s image among Hispanics had improved as Trump’s immigration positions dominated the news. With Hispanics constituting only a small fraction of the Republican Party, this has not boosted Bush’s favorable rating — which has been fairly flat all summer among the Republican base. But, unless his “anchor babies” comment derails him, Bush’s recent jockeying with Trump could help warm Hispanic voters to him in the general election should he capture the nomination. For now, Clinton has a modest advantage over Bush in favorability among Hispanics, but she is also much better known than her Democratic competitors.