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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.