Latino Leaders on Trump’s First State of the Union Address
NiLP Latino Leadership Survey
Latino Leaders on
State of the Union Address
By Angelo Falcón
The NiLP Report (February 5, 2018)
As part of the nonpartisan National Institute for Latino Policy’s tracking of Latino leadership views of the Trump Administration, we conducted a survey of their opinions on President Trumps’ first State of the Union address he presented on January 30, 2018. This online survey was conducted on January 31-February 3, 2-18 with 194 respondents, based primarily on the nonpartisan email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn listserves of NiLP. This is not based on a probability sample and its findings are only suggestive, meant to promote discussion of the issues involved within the Latino community. Despite its non-scientific nature, this is the only leadership opinion survey conducted nationally among Latinos.
The first such survey NiLP conducted in March 2017 after Trump took office revealed an overwhelmingly negative view of President Trump’s policies as they affected the Latino community. Using this as a baseline, the current survey results indicate that Latino leadership animosity toward Trump’s policies has remained consistently high.
As a collection of the views of Latino leaders nationally from a wide range of sectors, it captures the sense of this important set of Latino opinion leaders about the Trump Administration. This leadership startum is the one that sets the framework for assessing Latinos issues and priorities but it is never surveyed on their opinions as a distinct group in the way this NiLP Leadership Survey does.
Because it is not possible to accurately weigh the national-origin data of this Latino leadership segment, the approach we use is to report the findings by national-origin: Mexican, Puerto Rican and Other Latino opinion leaders. As you assess these findings please note that Mexicans represent the overwhelming majority of the Latino population, followed by the Other Latinos as a group, and Puerto Ricans.
It should be noted that Puerto Ricans are the only group that migrates to the United States already as US citizens. The Mexicans includes many new immigrants as well as a large number of US residents going back many generations. The Other Latino category includes a wide range of Central and South Americans and includes Dominicans, these are groups that have a shorter presence in the United States and large numbers of undocumented immigrants. What is interesting is that this survey reveals united views across all three Latino opinion leaders in their negative assessment of the Trump policies.
Overall Reaction to the State of the Union Address
Overall, large majorities of the three groups of Latino opinion leaders (63-66 percent) rated Trump’s State of the Union speech as “poor.”
- Those Latino opinion leaders identifying as racially White were the most positive about Trump’s speech: 22 percent of those identifying as White thought his speech was good or excellent, while none identifying as Black or Some Other Race agreed.
- 75 percent of those identifying a Republican thought the speech was “good” to “excellent”, compared to only 11 percent of the Democrats, 10 percent of the Independents and 5 percent of those identifying as “something else.”
- The percentages of male and female Latino opinion leaders thinking the speech was just “fair” or “poor” were similar for both: 88 percent of the men, and 81 percent of the women.
- 23 percent of those seeing Latinos as being “American, period” thought the speech as “Excellent” or “Good,” compared to only 2 percent of those who saw Latinos as a racial minority, and 16 percent who saw Latinos as an ethnic group.
As to how they felt about his speech, even larger majorities of the Latino opinion leaders (66-77 percent) felt “very negative.”
Impact of Trump Policies for Latino Community
Large majorities of all three groups of Latino opinion leaders felt that Trump’s positions in his State of the Union speech would be “bad” for the Latino community (84-91 percent). The Mexican opinion leaders had the highest percentage (91 percent) thinking his policies would be “bad” for Latinos.
- Majorities of all the racial groups the Latino opinion leaders identified with thought that Trump’s policies were “somewhat” or “very bad” for Latinos: 68 percent of those identifying as White, 100 percent of those identifying as Black, 85 percent identifying as “some other race” and 95 percent of those identifying a multi-racial. However, while 24 percent of those identifying as White felt that Trump’s policies would be “somewhat” to “very good” for Latinos, none of the other racial groups agreed.
- Similar percetnages of both the male and female Latino opinion leaders thought Trump’s policies were “somewhat” to “very bad” for Latinos: 85 percent of the women and 86 percent of the men.
- Majorities of those who consider Latinos to be a racial minoirity, an ethnic group, “American, period” and multi-racial all felt that Trump’s policies were “somewhat” to “very bad” for Latinos: 95 percent of those seeing Latinos as a racial minority, 80 percent of those seeing them as an ethnic group, and 77 percent of those seeing them as “Americans, period.”
- While 76 percent of the Latino opinion leaders identifying as Republican thought that Trump’s policies were “somewhat” to “very good” for the Latino community. This is in contrast with 10 percent of the Democrats, 12 percent of the Independents and 6 percent of those stating their political party affiliation as with “something else.”
Reactions to Trump’s Claims of Accomplishments
On the claims Trump made during the SOTU speech, the Latino opinion leaders strongly dosagreed with all, but were most in agreement with his infrastructure framework (27-38 percent were in agreement).
On Trump’s claim that he is responsible for the growth of the American economy, large majorities of the Latino opinion leaders disagreed (76-88 percent).
Reactions to Trump’s Immigration Framework
On his immigration framework, while there was support among the Latino opinion leaders on his proposed extension of DACA (82-85 percent were in agreement), there was strong disagreement with the other legs of the framework he proposed, especially the building of the Mexican wall (86-93 percent disagreed).
- The strongest support for the DACA extension came from those Latino opinion leaders identifying as White (92 percent agreed). This compares with 72 percent of those identifying as Some Other Race and 50 percent of those identifying as Black, 88 percent of the female Latino opinion leaders and 82 percent of the men agreed with the DACA extension.
- 86 percent of those viewing Latinos as a racial minority agreed on the proposed DACA extension. This is in comparison with 88 percent of those seeing Latinos as an ethnic group, and 77 percent of those seeing Latinos as “American, period.”
- All the Latino opinion leaders identifying as Republican agreed with the DACA extension. This is in comparison with 86 percent of the Democrats and 84 percent of the Independents.
Did Speech Promote Bipartisanship and Unity?
Two goals of Trump’s State of the Union speech were to promote bipartisan agreement on his policies and to set a tone to unify the country. All three groups of Latino opinion leaders overwhelming felt that Trump failed on both counts. On bipartisanship, 88-93 percent disagreed; on delivering a unifying message, 88-96 percent disagreed.
Trump and Russia?
One of the major issues President Trump did not discuss in his State of the Union address was the Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in American politics. Asked if they thought Trump had colluded with the Russian government, majorities of all three groups of Latino opinion leaders thought he did, ranging from 55 percent of the Other Latino opinion leaders to 77 percent of the Mexicans.
- A majoirity of all racial groups of the Latino opinion leaders stated they believe Trump has coullded with Russia: 55 percent of those identifying as racially White, 100 percent of the Blacks, 61 percent of those identifying as Some Other Race, and 71 percent of those identifying as multiracial.
- Majorities of the male (61 percent) and female (68 percent) Latino opinion leaders also believed Trump colluded with the Russians.
- Majorities of those seeing Latinos differently as a racial (74 percent), ethnic (59 percent) or “American, period” (67 percent) group all agreed that Trump had colluded.
- None of the Republican Latino opinion leaders thought Trump colluded, compared to 75 percent of the Democrats, 56 percent of the Independents and 44 percent of those identifying their affiiation as “something else.”
The Democratic Response?
The Latino opinion leaders’ reaction to the Democratic response to the State of the Union by Massachusetts Congressman Joseph Kennedy III was generally positive. However, given the overwhelmingly negative views the Latino opinion leaders had of Trump’s speech, their reaction to Kennedy’s response was not as strong in the other direction. Those rating it “excellent” ranges from 24 percent of the Other Latino opinion leaders to 36 percent of the Mexicans.
There was some discussion about the nature of President Trump’s delivery of his speech since he used a teleprompter. Large majorities of the Latino opinion leaders found Trump’s delivery to be “dull” or “boring”: 68 percent of the Mexicans, 72 percent of the Other Latinos, and 79 percent of the Puerto Ricans.