Biden gets a big bounce with Hispanics

A look at recent history and the polls reveals, however, that Biden could be ready for a comeback among Hispanics for one simple reason: He is now the incumbent.

Take a look at the Gallup polls during Biden’s presidency. Aggregating all the polls he has conducted so far (in order to get a large sample size), Biden’s approval rate among Hispanics is 72% versus an overall approval rate of 55%. .
That 72% is a marked improvement over how Biden did in the election with Hispanics. Biden has won 65% of Hispanics, according to network exit polls. An estimate by Democratic firm Catalist (which matches well with what we saw in pre-election polls) had Biden taking 61% of Hispanics. So, this Gallup data suggests that Biden’s support could increase by 7 to 11 points from the election.

Biden is doing better overall now than he did in the election. Its approval rating is 55% in the Gallup data we’re using here. Even controlling for a higher approval rating overall, Biden had a disproportionate increase in Hispanic support. He is now 17 points better with Hispanics than overall, while he was 10-14 points better with them in the 2020 election.

Also, don’t forget that unlike an election, the undecided are allowed in a ballot. If we split the undecided ones evenly between approval and disapproval for Hispanics, and overall, Biden’s approval rating is about 20 points higher among Hispanics than overall in the Gallup poll.

(An average of recent CNN / SSRS, Fox News, Marist College, and Quinnipiac University polls over their pre-election counterparts reveals that Biden had a similar disproportionate increase with Hispanics.)

This 20-point gap between what Hispanics and adults generally feel about Biden is wider than what the last Democratic president saw in his first few months on the job.

In aggregate data from Gallup with Undecided Persons Assigned, Barack Obama’s approval rating was 17 points higher with Hispanics than overall in the first four months of his presidency. In the 2008 election, Obama scored 14 points better in the polls with Hispanics than overall.

Obama saw an improvement with Hispanics over his overall performance, but not to the same extent that Biden might get.

The fact that Biden and Obama saw more dynamism with Hispanics than overall shouldn’t be surprising based on the story.

Recent incumbents appear to be seeing their support among Hispanics increase in their re-election offers. In fact, the last five incumbents since George HW Bush have done better with Hispanics than they did when they were elected for their first term.

What’s remarkable about Bush is that he did better even though he lost while seeking re-election. Bush went from an 8-point win in 1988 to a 6-point loss in 1992 (a 14-point swing). Still, Bush went from losing Hispanics by 40 points in the 1988 exit polls to losing them by 36 points in 1992 (a 4-point swing in his direction).

We saw the same phenomenon with Obama in 2012 and Donald Trump in 2020. They both performed worse in their re-election campaigns, but did better with Hispanic voters. Trump went from a 39 point loss in 2016 Catalist data to a 25 point loss in 2020, even as he lost the popular vote by 4.5 points instead of 2.1 points.

Indeed, you can look at the heavily Hispanic congressional districts and see the same pattern. Since 1988, reelection candidates have consistently performed better in the heavily Hispanic South Bronx congressional district, currently held by Rep. Richie Torres, than when they were first elected.

This includes the three incumbents who have done worse nationally than when they won their first term: Bush in 1992 (who saw a 4 point improvement), Obama in 2012 (who saw a 4 point improvement) and Trump in 2020 (who saw a 16 point bump).

We obviously don’t know if Biden will get the same bump if he decides to run again, although history is on his side. Early approval data from Gallup indicates it’s very possible.


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