Almost Half of Latino Voters Approve of Donald Trump's Coronavirus Response, Poll Finds

About 45 percent of Latinos approve of the way President Donald Trump is handling the coronavirus pandemic, a new poll showed.

The poll also found that 47 percent say Trump is providing clear and helpful information. At the same time, it also found that 85 percent of Latinos said they trust their local officials to help them understand how to protect themselves during the crisis.

Yet when asked to agree with one of two statements assigning blame, 69 percent agreed that Trump ignored the early warning signs of coronavirus, hurting thousands of Americans due to his delays and incomplete response, while 31 percent said there was nothing he could have done to prevent the outbreak and he should not be blamed.

The poll, conducted April 12 by polling firm Latino Decisions and commissioned by Somos Community Healthcare founder Henry Muñoz, the former finance chairman for the Democratic Party, surveyed 1,200 Latino voters.

Despite the confidence in the president's coronavirus communications, the poll also found that 59 percent of Latinos said they would likely vote for former Vice President Joe Biden in November, compared with 22 percent who said they would vote for Trump.

Steve Cortes, a spokesman for America First PAC, which supports the president, told Newsweek that Latino approval numbers have surprised skeptics for years, particularly on the economy. "A large part of the virus story is the needed economic recovery, and I'm confident Hispanic citizens continue to view Trump as an effective leader for entrepreneurs and small businesses."

"Donald Trump is doing very well among Latinos voters and that has Democrats very worried," Trump campaign spokesperson Ali Pardo told Newsweek.

The mixed numbers do have Democrats worried. The poll illustrates a fear Democrats share publicly and privately that try as they might they can't get Latino voters to shun the president and his message, perhaps because he is able to broadcast his message through ample cable news coverage, pollsters said.

"Democrats need more of that," said Latino Decisions founder and pollster Matt Barreto of appointment television briefings, which only Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have done consistently. "Pelosi, Schumer and Biden could do daily press conferences on what they are doing and how they are standing up for Latinos, which has been hard to come by."

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President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing of the coronavirus task force at the White House on April 22, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/Getty

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) told Newsweek they understand the advantage the president has on cable news but said a priority is putting surrogates on local media television and radio broadcasts in battleground states to message to communities of color, which have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

"Trying to define Trump and his failures and how it impacts them is a critical connection as we move forward," said DNC spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa.

Addisu Demissie, former campaign manager for Senator Cory Booker and California Governor Gavin Newsom, said the poll isn't as troubling for Democrats as it seems, arguing that Biden is in a tough spot because if he's not careful he might say something that a governor on the east coast like Cuomo doesn't agree with, but that lines up with what Newsom is pushing, for example.

"Trump is always going to win MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News, but he's not necessarily going to win your local TV evening news or radio station," he told Newsweek, recalling Biden saying on a local Pittsburgh television station last week that he would take Michelle Obama as his vice presidential pick "in a heartbeat."

"You know who didn't see that?" Demissie said. "A bunch of people watching CNN. You know who did? People in Pennsylvania."

California Representative Tony Cardenas told Newsweek that the poll demonstrates Latinos' faith in their community leaders.

"I think the poll accurately points out that local leaders are doing a better job than the president of following the science, listening to medical advisors, and doing work on the ground," he said. "We as Democrats are fighting tooth and nail for the small employer, people who are laid off and get a $1200 check. I dare any Republican or Donald Trump to say they were fighting for those $1200 checks to go out."

But if Democrats want credit for fighting for the community and providing solutions to the crisis, Hector Sanchez Barba, head of Latino advocacy organization Mi Familia Vota, said they must do a better job spreading that message widely in the media to make the community aware of what he called Trump's "shocking" pandemic response.

"It is imperative that Democrats, Vice President Biden, and Congressional Leadership highlight these failures and provide Latinos solutions," he said. "Two-thirds of Latinos have either lost their jobs or are facing economic hardship. Democrats need to be sharing their plans to help this community in English and Spanish, online and on television."