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              A protester who was arrested during a May Day march that began as an anti-capitalism protest and turned into demonstrators clashing with police lies on the ground next to police batons, Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in downtown Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
              A protester who was arrested during a May Day march that began as an anti-capitalism protest and turned into demonstrators clashing with police lies on the ground next to police batons, Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in downtown Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)   

Poll shows Latinos strongly favor Democrats for 2016

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

The two leading Democratic 2016 candidates for the White House trounce GOP candidates among Latino voters, including the two GOP politicians now prominently working to build Latino support, according to a new poll.

The nation’s second-most prominent Democrat, Hillary Clinton, scored a 73 percent “somewhat” or very” favorable response from the 1,200 voters, despite having no legislative accomplishments that have helped Hispanics.

Vice President Joe Biden got a 58 percent favorability rating, and can claim a role in Obamacare and the current amnesty effort, which are strongly supported by Latinos.

But Republican Gov. Jeb Bush gets only 27 percent of “very” or “somewhat” favorable support, and a 39 percent unfavorable response, even though he was popular among Latinos during his tenure as governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. Like many other business-minded Republicans, he now supports the Senate’s immigration rewrite, partly because it increases the inflow of workers.

Bush’s ally, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, only gets a 31 percent favorable response, and a 29 percent unfavorable response, despite his Cuban background and his high-profile effort to win GOP support for the Senate’s controversial new law.

New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie scored well among Latinos, hitting 35 percent support, and getting only a 12 percent unfavorable reaction.

Unlike Bush or Rubio, he’s got a populist image, and he’s repeatedly suggested he supports some kind of amnesty for the 11 million illegals in the country. He hasn’t pushed the issue from the governor’s mansion, however.

The poll of 1,200 Latino voters was conducted by Latino Decisions, a Democratic-associated polling firm. It was funded by America’s Voice, a lobbying group that is now pushing to win passage of the Senate immigration bill.

In 2012, Gov. Mitt Romney scored 27 percent of the Latino vote, which was described by some GOP activists as disastrous. President Barack Obama won 71 percent.

In the poll, Obama scored a 75 percent approval rate, despite a lousy economy that has kept many Latinos struggling to make a living. He’s frequently associated himself with Latinos, and is now aggressively pushing the Senate amnesty bill.

Obama got a 22 percent unfavorable reaction. Biden got a 21 percent unfavorable score, while Clinton got only a 17 percent negative response. Their unfavorable ratings may the GOP’s 20 percent floor in the Latino vote.

The highest any GOP candidate has done among Latinos was President George W. Bush, who reached a 40 percent share in 2004.

But that record score was won by a sitting president during a housing boom that was intended to help woo Latinos, who was running against a stiff-necked, wealthy WASP from Massachusetts.

The Latino vote includes distinct groups of Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans and others.