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Biden holds sizable lead over Trump among Latino voters in NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll

The 62 percent-to-26 percent lead is less of an advantage than Hillary Clinton held at this point in the race in 2016.
Image: Joe Biden
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden talks about the Supreme Court in Philadelphia on Sunday.Carolyn Kaster / AP

Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by 62 percent to 26 percent among Latino registered voters nationally, but his lead trails Hillary Clinton's advantage with this voting bloc at the same stage in 2016, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll released Sunday.

The poll's respondents see Biden as better at addressing concerns of the Latino community, at 59 percent to 18 percent, and the candidates are nearly even on who is better at dealing with the economy, with 41 percent saying Biden and 39 percent choosing Trump.

Biden's 36-point lead in the presidential contest shows that Democrats still have strong backing in the community, which could help Biden in some states where the race is tight.

"Biden's Latino support is greater than his performance with all voters, 51 percent of which say they would vote for him over Trump," said Aileen Cardona-Arroyo, a senior analyst at Hart Research, which conducted the poll.

But it's clear that Biden has work to do with the Hispanic electorate. In a September 2016 NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll, Clinton led Trump by 63 percent to 16 percent among registered Hispanic voters.

Latinos are the largest nonwhite group of eligible voters this election, at 32 million. However, the National Association of Elected and Appointed Officials has projected that fewer than half, about 14.6 million, will vote in this year's election, which will be held during the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden's greatest support among Hispanic registered voters is among those 18 to 39 years old — 71 percent of that group backs him.

Latinos ages 18 to 35 are about 40 percent of eligible voters in the demographic, according to the Census Bureau. Young Latino turnout has generally been lower than that of other young voters, although Latino voters 18 to 29 increased their turnout in the 2018 midterms.

"If you are the Biden campaign, you are looking at this in terms of opportunity for turnout, because we do know that younger cohort has lower turnout levels, so it's an opportunity there to expand the electorate but also requires a bit of investment there," Cardona-Arroyo said.

Although younger voters tend to be more likely to vote Democratic, "they also are a group that has to have a larger investment in terms of turning them out to vote," she said.

Trump has some slight traction among younger Latino men, as he has among younger men throughout the electorate, Cardona-Arroyo said. Thirty-one percent of Latino men are backing Trump over Biden, compared to just 22 percent of Latinas.

The poll showed high interest in the election among registered Latino voters, but not as high as among registered voters overall.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents ranked their interest on a scale of 1 to 10 as 9 or 10. That is lower than all registered voters (80 percent) but higher than in September 2016 (when 60 percent of Latinos chose 9 or 10).

"Interest in the election tends to go hand in hand with whether people are going to turn out or not," Cardona-Arroyo said, "something both campaigns should be thinking about."

The results are based on an oversample of 300 registered Hispanic voters in the Sept. 13-16 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 70 percent of whom chose to be interviewed in English and 30 percent of whom chose Spanish. It carries a margin of error of plus or minus 5.66 percentage points.