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President Trump trails Joe Biden among Latino voters in Arizona

President Donald Trump listens during a Latinos for Trump Coalition roundtable campaign event at Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

PHOENIX — President Donald Trump courted Latino voters in Phoenix this week as a recent poll shows him trailing Democratic opponent Joe Biden among Latino voters.

Only 29% of Latino voters in Arizona said they would vote for Trump, compared with 63% for the former vice president, according to a poll released last month by the national firm Latino Decisions.

“This is pretty consistent with his numbers in 2016, so the idea that he’s moved the needle on Latinos, especially in Arizona, is certainly a false narrative,” said Stephen Nuño, a senior analyst with Latino Decisions.

Four years ago, exit poll data showed Trump won 28% of the Latino vote nationally. A similar share went to Mitt Romney in 2012 and to John McCain in 2008.

Nuño said historically roughly a third of Latino voters have voted for a Republican presidential candidate, with the exception of George W. Bush.

“There was a high point in 2004 with the Bush candidacy where he was elected with roughly 40% of the Latino vote,” he said.

The poll by Latino Decisions also found 63% of Latino voters in Arizona disapprove of the way Trump is handling the coronavirus pandemic while 37% approve. Over 70% of them also believe Trump ignored the early warning signs of the pandemic and downplayed the seriousness of it.

With less than 50 days before the Nov. 3 election, Nuño said he doesn’t see Trump gaining support from Latino voters mainly due to previous stances and actions.

That includes the president’s pardoning of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio after he was found in criminal contempt of court for continuing his immigration sweeps targeting Latinos even after a judge ordered him to stop.

Nuño added the Latinos for Trump roundtable event at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix on Monday “was probably geared more towards independent whites” and to give the impression that Trump is doing well with Latino voters.

Sergio Arellano, a member of the Latinos for Trump advisory board, disagreed with that notion. He’s one of the Latinos who were part of the roundtable discussion with the president on Monday.

“It just speaks volumes as to the level of character of this leader that he’s willing to take time out of a presidential election to come into a state like Arizona, sit down and hear from us as Latinos,” he said.

Arellano said he backs Trump for several reasons, including what he has done to support small business owners during the coronavirus pandemic.

“As a small business owner myself, I can really tell you that the proactive stance that he has taken to help businesses out in the midst of the pandemic has been phenomenal,” he said.

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