Trump’s candidacy could drive Latino turnout in Florida – Report

July 6, 2016

Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy is making Latinos more likely to vote in November in a key part of Florida, the group Working America will report this week.

A majority – 55 percent – of more than 500 likely Latino voters in the Orlando area told Working America canvassers in early June that Trump made them more likely to vote and just 3 percent said they would back the presumptive Republican nominee. Working America is a non-union affiliate of the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. federation of labor unions, which has endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Nearly 20 percent said Trump’s candidacy has caused them to face increased discrimination in their communities and a quarter of registered Latino Republican voters surveyed said on Nov. 8 they will back Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee.

“The fact that half were motivated by Trump to vote at this early stage, we don’t see that usually, to be that engaged this early is very telling,” Working America President Karen Nussbaum said in an interview.

Working America provided Reuters with a preview of a detailed report it will release later this week on conversations it had with 509 likely Latino voters in the Orlando area.

Nussbaum said the report was the latest in a series studying the effect that Trump’s “right-wing rhetoric” is having on working-class voters. Working America previously talked to white, working-class voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania in an effort to understand Trump’s appeal. Clinton and Trump are expected to compete fiercely in all three states.

Nearly a quarter of Florida’s population is Hispanic. Nearly 70 percent of the likely voters Working America spoke to were Puerto Rican and the remaining 30 percent were originally from Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, the Dominican Republican and Mexico, the group said.

Nearly 80 percent of the Orlando Latinos said they felt Trump’s promises to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and crack down on illegal immigration, along with critical statements regarding immigrants and a Hispanic judge handling a lawsuit against one of Trump’s businesses, had inflamed public sentiment against Latino immigrants.

Nearly one-in-five of the likely Latino voters told Working America they have faced increased discrimination for speaking Spanish since Trump began his candidacy. Many cited specific instances where Trump’s proposed policies were invoked, such as a 49-year-old Puerto Rican woman who said she witnessed a white woman in a church group tell Latino attendees: “Go back to Mexico. Trump is gonna get you all out.”

“I was not surprised. We keep hearing about these instances of discrimination. It is sad, but also revealing,” Working America’s Alberto Fernandez said in an interview.

Fernandez said the Orlando Latinos viewed Trump as an “outlier” and do not associate him with the Republican Party as a whole. Working America will use the information it gathers from the field to get out the vote for Clinton.

(Reporting by Amanda Becker)

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