In the newest release of data from a Latino tracking poll sponsored by NALEO Educational Fund and Noticias Telemundo, conducted by Latino Decisions, Latinos appear to have low expectations of Donald Trump ahead of tonight's Presidential debate.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will face each other for the first time Monday night in the first scheduled debate of the presidential race. The tracking poll interviewed 250 Latino registered voters between September 18- September 24, 2016, introducing a fresh cross-section of new interviews each week that are combined with the most recent results from the previous week.
Perhaps the best news for Donald Trump is that it would be very difficult for him to disappoint Latinos' perception of him. The poll continues to show that Latinos have a low impression of Donald Trump, with 72 percent saying they found him unfavorable. At this point in the election in 2012, many perceived Mitt Romney to have set the low bar of expectations, with 58 percent of Latinos saying they had an unfavorable impression of him.
With a number of potential issues that can be raised- foreign policy, terrorism, immigration, the economy- the poll asked Latinos who they thought would be the more convincing debater. Only 16 percent of respondents said they expect Donald Trump to win the debate, and 63 percent said they expect Hillary Clinton to be most convincing.
Polls asking Latinos what the most important issues facing the Hispanic community continue to support the notion that the Latino electorate is diverse in their perceptions of what is important to them, and not one-dimensional. For instance, among the highest issues recorded in the poll, 19 percent of Latinos said terrorism and ISIS was an important issue facing the community that needs to be addressed by Congress and the President.
When it comes to the topic of future US-Latin American relations, the poll revealed and overwhelming 71 percent of Latinos think Hillary Clinton would be the candidate to strengthen relations between the two. Only 9 percent of respondents said Donald Trump would. Brandon Valeriano, the Donald Bren Chair of Armed Politics at the Marine Corps University and a Reader at Cardiff University whose research specializes in foreign policy, was unfazed by the poll results. "The results are unsurprising," said Valeriano, "Trump's frequent emphasis on building a wall shows his inability to think through the real issues facing Latin America."
NOTE: In August 2015, Matt Barreto and Gary Segura of Latino Decisions were hired as consultants to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Latino Decisions said this study was not coordinated, sponsored, or otherwise endorsed by any campaign, party, or political organization.