September 30, 2020

Telemundo poll: 66% of U.S. Spanish speakers think Trump won the debate

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According to a new Telemundo poll, 66% of Spanish-speaking Americans believe that President Donald Trump came out on top in Tuesday night’s presidential debate against former Vice President Joe Biden, Newsweek reports.

Among participants, the Spanish-language television network’s post-debate poll found that 66% of them thought that Trump won the first of three presidential debates while only 34% felt that Biden performed better. However, considering how soon after the debate this poll was conducted and how a network polling its viewers are not always representative of the full demographic, a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted.

While the direct cause for these results is unclear, it is worth noting that both candidates’ campaigns have been heavily targeting Latino voters.

Notably, Biden spoke at a Hispanic Heritage Month event in Florida on September 15, where he was accused of being tone-deaf for playing the hit Latin pop song “Despacito” from his cell phone into the mic. Meanwhile, Trump has been ramping up his outreach through his group “Latinos for Trump.”

If this poll is indeed accurate, it would signify a dramatic shift from the September 20 Wall Street Journal/NBC/Telemundo poll, which found that 62% of registered Latino voters backed Biden compared to Trump’s 26%. 12% remained undecided, according to the same poll.

While Latinos as a whole tend to vote for Democrats, certain subgroups buck this trend. Cuban Americans in particular, who are mostly clustered throughout South Florida, reliably vote Republican. The mainstream explanation for why Cuban Americans vote this way is because most of them fled Fidel Castro’s brutal communist dictatorship in the late 1950s and the decades since, making them hold strong anti-communist and anti-socialist beliefs.

By happenstance, Latinos comprise a significant amount of voters in many of this election’s swing states, which has made their votes this time around more highly prized by both campaigns.

Some of these competitive states with large Latino populations are Florida, Texas, Nevada, and Arizona. Therefore it’s within the realm of reason that Latino voters could potentially decide whether these states, which are expected to be won by razor-thin margins, will go red or blue.

Until more thorough polls are published, likely by the end of this week, the numerical impact of Tuesday night’s debate will remain up for speculation.

The election’s only vice-presidential debate—between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris—is scheduled for next Wednesday (Oct. 7) in Salt Lake City, Utah, and it will air from 9 to 10:30pm (Eastern Standard Time). The second presidential debate will happen Wednesday, October 17 in Miami between 9 and 10:30pm (Eastern Standard Time).

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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