Peggy Noonan believes it.
Or at least she believes that Trump can make serious inroads among Hispanics. Her evidence? Primarily, secondhand reports from her deli guy about one Spanish-language radio show in New York:
Something is going on, some tectonic plates are moving in interesting ways. My friend Cesar works the deli counter at my neighborhood grocery store. He is Dominican, an immigrant, early 50s, and listens most mornings to a local Hispanic radio station, La Mega, on 97.9 FM. Their morning show is the popular “El Vacilón de la Mañana,” and after the first GOP debate, Cesar told me, they opened the lines to call-ins, asking listeners (mostly Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican) for their impressions. More than half called in to say they were for Mr. Trump. Their praise, Cesar told me a few weeks ago, dumbfounded the hosts. I later spoke to one of them, who identified himself as D.J. New Era. He backed Cesar’s story. “We were very surprised,” at the Trump support, he said. Why? “It’s a Latin-based market!”Did this happen? Were the callers on this show largely pro-Trump? I'll take Noonan's word for it. But when you look at New York Hispanics by place of origin, you see that they're not representative of U.S. Hispanics overall. Even though the numbers are changing, there are nearly twice as many Dominicans as Mexicans here, and there are more than twice as many Puerto Ricans as Mexicans. And remember that the members of that biggest group, Puerto Ricans, aren't immigrants -- they're U.S. citizens. Maybe that skewed the opinions on the radio show Noonan didn't actually listen to. Or maybe affection for Trump is just boosterism for a fellow New Yorker, a guy with a shared local attitude.
“He’s the man,” Cesar said of Mr. Trump. This week I went by and Cesar told me that after Mr. Trump threw Univision’s well-known anchor and immigration activist, Jorge Ramos, out of an Iowa news conference on Tuesday evening, the “El Vacilón” hosts again threw open the phone lines the following morning and were again surprised that the majority of callers backed not Mr. Ramos but Mr. Trump. Cesar, who I should probably note sees me, I sense, as a very nice establishment person who needs to get with the new reality, was delighted.
I said: Cesar, you’re supposed to be offended by Trump, he said Mexico is sending over criminals, he has been unfriendly, you’re an immigrant. Cesar shook his head: No, you have it wrong. Immigrants, he said, don’t like illegal immigration, and they’re with Mr. Trump on anchor babies. “They are coming in from other countries to give birth to take advantage of the system. We are saying that! When you come to this country, you pledge loyalty to the country that opened the doors to help you.”
But by contrast with New York, the national Hispanic population is 64% Mexican in origin. Now, remind me: Which specific Hispanic group has Trump repeatedly and viciously insulted? And what did that recent Gallup poll say?
It is noted that a poll this week said Hispanics are very much not for Donald Trump. Gallup had 65% with an unfavorable view of him, and only 14% favorable.There's a pretty close match between the unfavorable percentage and the Mexican-origin percentage, wouldn't you say?
But Noonan still believes in magic. She puts faith in a poll Trump invoked in his confrontation with Ramos:
Mr. Trump and Mr. Ramos actually got into that, when Mr. Ramos finally questioned him after being allowed back into the news conference. Mr. Trump countered with a recent Nevada poll that has him with a state lead of 28% -- and he scored even higher with Nevada’s Hispanics, who gave him 31% support.Okay, let's take a look at that poll:
WASHINGTON, July 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- One America News Network, "OAN", a credible source for 24/7 national and international news, released today its most recent 2016 Republican and Democratic Presidential Polling Results for Nevada conducted by Gravis Marketing. The results show that GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump has a commanding lead of 27.7%, with recently announced Presidential Candidate Scott Walker in second with 15%. In third is Ben Carson with 7.8% with Jeb Bush a point behind at 6.8%. Marco Rubio rounds out the top five with 5.4%. Undecided voters remain high at just over 20%.So Trump didn't score "higher with Nevada’s Hispanics" -- according to this poll, he scored higher with Nevada's Hispanic Republicans. According to an analysis of the 2014 midterms by the firm Latino Decisions, fewer than 20 percent of Hispanics in Nevada identify as Republicans. (More than half identify as Democrats.)
With polled Hispanics, Presidential Candidate Trump received 31.4%, higher than his overall performance of 27.7%.
The poll Trump and Noonan are citing was conducted by Gravis Marketing -- a much-maligned company (Fivethirtyeight rating for the pollster: C) that was once called "the worst poll in America" by Dave Weigel (although the company did have a run of good polls in the fall of 2014). The survey was conducted for One America News, an upstart conservative cable news channel (created in collaboration with The Washington Times) that (as National Journal puts it) "is positioning itself to be the next Fox News." It recently hired Sarah Palin to guest-host one of its political talk shows; earlier this year, another on-air host questioned the gender of Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren:
At [February]'s Conservative Political Action Conference, a 22-year-old woman named Tomi Lahren walked out on the stage and generated the most memorable sound bite from the conference....So forgive me if I don't think Trump is going to sweep the Hispanic vote on the basis of this, um, evidence.
In her speech, Lahren -- who hosts a right-leaning talk show on the little-known cable channel One America News Network -- said there is a misconception among young voters that the GOP is populated by "old, rich, white males," and turned that criticism on the Left.
"Let's look at the top three Democrats for 2016," Lahren said. "You've got Hillary, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden. Old, rich, white, and if the pantsuit fits ... male too?"