Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump arrives at a campaign event at the Hyatt Hotel on December 13, 2023 in Coralville, Iowa.
Scott Olson | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Republican front-runner Donald Trump appears to be gaining significant ground against President Joe Biden among Latino voters, according to new CNBC survey data.
The CNBC All-America Economic Survey released Tuesday found that in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, Trump had a 5-point lead with Latino voters against Biden.
The number is remarkable because three months ago, in October, Biden held a 7-point lead over Trump among Latino voters, in the same poll.
Biden’s performance with Latino voters is not just lagging relative to Trump — it is trending downward overall. In December 28% of Latino adults approved of Biden as president, down from 35% in October.
Biden’s plunge among Latinos is a fresh warning sign to Democrats that the party could be at risk of losing its hold on a key voting bloc that helped elect Biden in 2020. Biden’s support among young women and independents also fell, according to the survey results.
Among all respondents, the survey found Trump would lead Biden 48-42, a wider margin than Trump’s 46-42 lead in the October survey.
The poll surveyed 1,002 Americans between Dec. 8 to 12, with a margin of error of +/-3.1%.
US President Joe Biden steps off Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on December 11, 2023.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.
Biden has come under fire from Latino policy leaders for his handling of border security reform in recent week. Chiefly, they object to a White House-backed deal to lock down shaky Republican support for a massive foreign aid package for Israel and Ukraine, by tying it to a series of stricter border enforcement mechanisms.
The deal has been under negotiation in the Senate for weeks.
The White House “should not have put border policy together with foreign aid,” Rep. Nanette Barragán, D-Calif., who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said this month. “I think that this is going to set a dangerous precedent.”
By linking border policy to the foreign aid package, she argued, Biden has given Republicans a bargaining chip to push their more hard-line immigration reforms.
Republicans have proposed requiring ankle bracelets to monitor people detained at the border, and tightening asylum restrictions. Democrats have rejected those proposals, leaving negotiations for both Israel-Ukraine funding and border policy at a standstill.
But while opposition to Biden’s handling of the border may help to explain some of his drop in support among Latino voters, it does not fully answer the question of why these same voters would flock to Trump.
The former president has made opposition to nearly all immigration a centerpiece of his campaign. For years, Trump has stoked fear among his supporters of undocumented migrants, falsely claiming that immigrants help drive higher crime rates and pose threats to public health.
But while Latinos have traditionally aligned with Biden’s more progressive policy agenda, especially on issues like immigration reform, there may be stronger forces at work this election cycle.
Heading into 2024, the economy has become top of mind for voters — and a central pillar of Biden’s reelection campaign. That could be a boon for Trump, who tends to poll better with Latino voters in times of economic stress.
A November survey from UnidosUS found that the rising cost of living, jobs and the economy were the chief priorities among Latino voters ahead of the 2024 election. And another November poll of 235 Hispanic voters found that they favored Trump’s management of the economy.
Economic pessimism has so far proven to be Biden’s toughest election headwind. Despite positive economic data that suggests cooling inflation, consumer prices have remained stubbornly high and Biden has born the brunt of the blame from voters.
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