One tidbit from the latest Gallup poll regarding Hispanics' view of the GOP presidential candidates could have easily been buried under the outrageous net -51 percent approval rating Donald Trump has tallied. Yet, another shocking number was almost an afterthought, it was revealed that only 40 percent of Hispanics are familiar with Cuban American presidential candidates Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX).
In terms of familiarity, only Trump and Bush are recognized by a majority of Hispanics. Eight in 10 have formed an opinion of Trump and about six in 10 of Bush. Familiarity dwindles to roughly 40% for Rubio and Cruz, both Cuban-Americans, as well as for Perry and Chris Christie, but drops well below that for all the others. (See the full ratings in the tables at the end.)
As for those Hispanic voters who do know who Sen. Ted Cruz is, the news is still not so good. He is under water by 7 points in terms of favorables. Rubio fared better, with a net positive of 5. Some pundits could argue Rubio is in the green among Hispanics because of his being one of the "Gang of Eight" that tried to usher in a comprehensive immigration-reform bill.
Now about the 60 percent who don't recognize their last names. Why are the senators so invisible in the Hispanic community? Are they not doing a good enough job reaching out to this significant demographic? Hispanic leaders like Javier Palomarez, the CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, say Cruz has a harder time connecting with his Latino heritage than the Florida senator:
"Rubio speaks the language. Both are sons of immigrants, but one has held onto the culture and language."
Yet, Rubio shouldn't celebrate just yet. Hispanic support for him pales in comparison to his fellow Floridian, Jeb Bush. In their home county of Miami-Dade, Bush outpolls Rubio 43 to 31 percent among Cuban Americans. Rubio and Cruz may look at these statistics and consider changing their campaign tactics, considering reports are predicting the GOP will need to win 40 percent of the HIspanic vote alone to win the 2016 general election.
Back to those paltry approval numbers for The Donald, which are literally off the charts. Does Trump still think he'll win the Latino vote?