With less than six months to go before the presidential elections, Latinos overwhelmingly support Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton over presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, according to a Fox News Latino poll released on Friday.
The poll found that 62 percent of registered Latino voters would head to the ballot box for Clinton in November, while only 23 percent would support Trump on Election Day – a finding that many experts say is not surprising given the two candidates’ differing stances on issues important to Latinos.
“There’s a more hospitable tone that Hillary Clinton is taking in terms of communicating with Hispanics,” Evelyn Perez-Verdia, analyst with Political Pasión, told Fox News Latino. “Compared to Donald Trump, it’s a much different message.”
The poll, which had a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, had Clinton outpacing Trump in a number of categories important to Latino voters.
In terms of job performance, Hispanics said the former secretary of state would represent their views better than Trump (72 percent to 14 percent), making decisions about nuclear weapons (65 percent to 20 percent), nominating the next Supreme Court justice (66 percent to 24 percent) and making the decisions about using military force (60 percent to 29 percent), among other issues.
Clinton leads in every demographic group particularly among Latina women (68 to 17 percent) and among Mexican-Americans (the largest Hispanic group in the nation) 67 to 21 percent.
While the poll reveals that Latino voters prefer Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump on important issues, they have an unfavorable view of both candidates.
About three out of four Latino voters have an unfavorable view of Donald Trump, according to the poll.
And despite Clinton’s wide lead with Hispanics, just 56 percent of Latino voters have a favorable view of the former Secretary of State. About 41 percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion of her.
The poll offers a glimpse as to why the majority of Latino voters seemingly do not overwhelmingly like either candidate. More Latino voters than not think Clinton and Trump are dishonest and don’t think they are running for the greater good.
About 72 percent of Latino voters believe Trump is running for president for himself and not for his country. About 42 percent of Latino voters believe Clinton wants to be president to benefit herself and not the country.
Neither candidate came close to approaching President Barack Obama’s favorable-unfavorable rating of 72 percent to 26 percent. Clinton led Trump on this rating with a favorable-unfavorable rating of 56 percent to 41 percent compared to the billionaire businessman’s 23 percent to 74 percent.
Trump’s divisive rhetoric on issues important to Latinos, such as immigration and border security, have some strategists saying that Trump will have hard time winning the election if he does not improve his ratings among Hispanics.
Much was made after the 2012 election about Mitt Romney’s dismal performance among Latino voters (27 percent). That number was lower than George W. Bush’s 44 percent in 2004 and John McCain’s 31 percent four years later. However, Trump’s support among Hispanics is higher than Bob Dole’s 21 percent in 1996 and George Bush’s 25 percent in 1992.
Trump’s current 23 percent, according to the FNL, paired with the 74 percent unfavorable rating has the real estate mogul facing a monumental task if he wants to win over Latinos.
“The big issue for Trump is: can he get his numbers into the high 30s or low 40s? Because it will take that to be competitive in places like Florida,” Joe Trippi, a political strategist and frequent Fox News Channel contributor, told FNL. “It’s a big mountain to climb as he needs to draw down his unfavorables, but he has a better shot with getting his favorability rating up.”
But there is a silver lining for Trump. Half of the Latinos polled said they would vote for a candidate even if they disagree with him or her on immigration – if the voter agrees with the candidate on most other issues.
Immigration, which came in fourth in importance to Latino voters in the FNL poll, with 12 percent saying it’s the most important issue for them, has been one of the strongest points of contention between Trump and the Hispanic community.
The poll found that 62 percent of Hispanics would still voter for candidate whose stance immigration differs from their own, compared to the 29 percent who said a divergence on immigration is a deal-breaker.
Experts tend to agree that with a record 27 million Latinos registered to vote in November, the group will play a major role in deciding who the next president of the United States will be.
"If I were a candidate running for president I’d keep my eye on Latino voters because they can really show up this year,” Trippi said. “Both candidates need to communicate and make inroads with any group that is setting records like they are.”
The Fox News Latino poll, which was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), spoke to a random sample of 886 Latino registered voters as an oversample to a national survey of 1,021 registered voters.
This Latino sample is made up of 76 interviews conducted as part of the base national sample and 810 additional interviews from a Latino voter list developed from previously conducted national random digit dial surveys.
Follow Andrew O'Reilly on Twitter @aoreilly84.