Real-estate magnate Donald Trump has vowed for weeks that if he wins the Republican presidential nomination, he would win the Latino vote in the general election.
On Wednesday morning, he touted a poll he said confirmed his predictions.
“Public Policy Polling (PPP) has just come out with a major poll putting me #1 with Hispanics – leading all Republican candidates,” Trump tweeted. “Told you so.”
However, the polling company responded on Twitter by noting the survey Trump highlighted also found him widely trailing among Hispanic voters in the general election:
Business Insider reached out to Trump’s campaign to confirm that the poll he wrote about on Twitter was the same one PPP referenced in its response. Indeed, a Trump campaign spokeswoman responded with a link to the conservative-leaning Media Research Center’s write-up of the PPP survey in question.
“POLL: Trump Leads GOP Field Among Hispanics, Records 34% Favorability,” the headline declared.
As the Media Research Center noted, the PPP poll found that 34% of self-identified Hispanic respondents had a favourable opinion of Trump. This was higher number than many of his Republican rivals, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), who was slightly behind with 31%. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) had 30% and 29% favourable ratings, respectively, among Hispanic voters.
However, the overall survey was much less positive for Trump. While the real-estate developer continued to dominate the Republican field, the Democratic-leaning firm’s president said the results suggested that Trump would be an “unmitigated disaster” in a general-election match-up against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Donald Trump continues to lead the Republican primary field,” Dean Debnam, PPP’s president, said in a statement accompanying the poll’s findings. “But there are signs his decline may be starting with GOP voters — and when it comes to the general election his numbers are an unmitigated disaster.”
Clinton had a 50% favourable rating among Hispanic voters, and the poll showed she would beat Trump by 13 points in a hypothetical general-election matchup.
Tom Jensen, PPP’s director, told Business Insider on Wednesday that his firm “didn’t even release a breakout of Hispanic voters for the Republican primary, and several other Republicans do better head to head against Clinton with Hispanics.”
“It’s a pretty novel interpretation of the poll results!” Jensen exclaimed in an email. “On the whole his numbers with minorities are pretty terrible.”
Trump has faced a storm of criticism over his heated rhetoric against illegal immigration. The real-estate developer often accuses Mexico’s government of sending “rapists” and drug runners across the border to the US. Some Hispanic leaders denounced his remarks as offensive, but Trump insists he’s simply telling the truth about criminals crossing the border.
“I have a great relationship with the Mexican people,” he told NBC News earlier this month. “I have many [Latino] people working for me. I have many legal immigrants working with me — many of them come from Mexico. They love me. I love them.”
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