Let's Not Get Carried Away With That "Trump Won Latinos" Entrance Poll
Small sample, big margin of error, striking differential in turnout between Hispanic Republicans and Hispanic Democrats in Nevada.
NORTH LAS VEGAS — Donald Trump won his third straight state — but another number will surely gain attention, maybe even more shocking than his big Nevada win.
According to an entrance poll of Nevada caucus-goers, Trump won 44% of Hispanic voters, with Marco Rubio getting 29%, and Ted Cruz 18%.
"46% with the Hispanics," Trump announced to his victory party, misstating the number. "Number one with Hispanics, I'm really happy about that."
But no one should be drawing definitive conclusions from the statistic.
The overall sample size for the entrance poll was 1,545 caucus-goers; of those, 9% identified as Latino — or about 135 people. Because of the small sample size, the 44% support figure has a 10% margin of error.
And while the Democratic caucus on Saturday saw nearly 16,000 Hispanics participate, the Republican number will fall somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 Latinos. In other words, many fewer Latinos voted Republican in Nevada than they did for the Democrats — something to remember if Trump touts the number as evidence that he can win Hispanic voters nationally.
And nationally, that approximate split carries through: Pew Hispanic has found that 63% of Hispanics identify as or lean toward the Democratic Party, while only 27% identify as or lean toward the Republican Party. In 2012, Obama famously received 71% support from Latinos while Mitt Romney got 27%.
There is also the unique way that Trump has campaigned: For many, it is no small thing for him to say he wants to deport all undocumented immigrants, because many Latinos know someone who is undocumented, for one example.
These dynamics were on display at Cheyenne High School in North Las Vegas.
Esteban Colque, a 35-year-old casino dealer, was one of the few Latinos in the big crowd of caucus-goers, in a line that led out of the school, snaked out past the main entrance, and had about 40 people outside the doors.
The Peruvian-American said he supports Trump because he wants change, and dismissed concern about Trump's comments during his announcement, noting that they were about illegal immigration and not legal immigration.
"Every country should have that," he said. "It's to be respected."
But for Martha Mundo, who attended with her husband, it was a much different story.
Both immigrants from Mexico, she said they are very conservative. They love Ben Carson, but didn't think he could win, so they settled on Ted Cruz.
And Trump? He wasn't even up for consideration.
"He went too far with his comments," Mundo said. "People don't take him seriously. I don't know what he has in mind, I haven't paid attention to him, because of all the things he's talked about."