After much talk of Joe Biden’s campaign being unable to get much traction with Hispanic voters – and consequently polls showing him doing somewhere between mildly and much worse with Hispanics than Hillary Clinton did – Biden seems to have figured out his Hispanic problems, and he’s done so in a big way.
Per three recent National polls – conducted by Optimus, YouGov, and the ABC/Washington Post poll – have Biden’s margins with Hispanics above where it was in 2016. In the three polls, the margin was 46.7%, 48%, and 41% respectively, all of which are improvements over Hillary Clinton’s 38% win, according to the 2016 Exit Poll. In all three cases, the pollsters are seeing swings to Biden with white voters, but in the past that white over performance has been met with worse numbers with Hispanics and Blacks. But not anymore.
The increasing lead with Hispanics is good for winning both the national vote by a bigger margin, but also for winning the Electoral College. Flipping Florida and Arizona alone gives the Democrats the White House, or more accurately, there’s no path back to the White House for Trump that doesn’t include both Florida and Arizona. Losing Hispanics by more than he did in 2016 makes the life of the President much harder in those two key states, which is more work he needs to do to get back in the race in a serious way.
The other place where this is a big problem for the GOP is in Texas, which for whatever people’s beliefs about its Presidential level competitiveness is nonetheless a key state up and down the ballot. Obviously, a Biden win would be huge in the state, but even if he comes up short there are huge benefits to coming close for the Democrats. There are 10 GOP held seats in Congress in Texas where the Democrats have some form of legitimate chance of winning if these kinds of Hispanic margins hold. Throw in the Texas State House, where Democrats are looking to make gains big enough to gain control of the chamber for the first time this century, and the Hispanic margins will really matter in the state.
That also doesn’t even get into issues of money and energy, and there is a real problem for the GOP if they have to play defence in Texas – that’s money that can’t go into either other states at a Presidential level or NRCC money that has to defend Texas districts that then can’t go into beating Joe Cunningham or Kendra Horn.
Things are fluid, and the thing that has led to Biden’s recent revival with Hispanics isn’t immediately clear – this isn’t a moment where a specific decision or announcement is clearly the cause. Maybe it’s noise, but the fact that three pollsters are showing it makes that unlikely. This has turned one of Biden’s weaknesses into a strength, put Texas even more firmly in play than it was before, and weakens the GOP’s hold on Florida and Arizona, two states they badly need. If the Trump campaign wants to get back in the game, trying to close this gap would be a good place to start.
Evan Scrimshaw (@EScrimshaw) is Managing Editor and Head Of Content at LeanTossup.ca and a contributor to Decision Desk HQ.