"Almost certainly, this is good news for Democratic candidates," said Alan Abramowitz, an Emory University political science professor who studies public opinion and election voting behavior. "I don't see Trump saying or doing anything that's going to improve his showing among Hispanic voters. He seems to be trying to alienate them."
President Donald Trump has been criticized for making inflammatory comments about Hispanics. When he launched his campaign in 2015, he referred to some Mexicans as rapists. As president, he has imposed a family separation policy for migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, attempted to end an Obama-era program protecting immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, and in a demand for a border wall intended to keep out migrants from Mexico and Central America, he prompted the longest partial government shutdown.
Yet, polls show that Hispanics are not monolithic in their political beliefs.
Pew found, in a separate report, that slightly more than two-thirds of Hispanics believe that the Trump administration's policies have been harmful to them. But a more recent NPR/Marist poll revealed Trump's approval rating among Hispanics soared from 31 percent in December to 50 percent.
It was an improvement the president himself noticed and touted.
Broader polling data show that Trump's standing among Hispanics has remained steady since the 2016 election — 32 percent in a February Economist/YouGov survey, 30 percent in a February poll from Morning Consult/POLITICO, and 28 percent in a late January Reuters/Ipsos poll.
In 2016, Hispanics favored Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by 66 percent to 28 percent, according to data from Pew. That margin was smaller than the 71 to 27 percent split former President Barack Obama won by in 2012. It was also smaller than the 72 to 21 percent margin former President Bill Clinton won by in 1996.
Exit polls from the 2018 midterm elections showed that an estimated 29 percent of Hispanics backed the Republican candidate in congressional races nationwide. Among other minority groups, African-Americans (9 percent) and Asian-Americans (23 percent) voted for Republicans by a lower share.
While Democrats have traditionally enjoyed the majority of Hispanic voting share, results in several states show that the picture is more complicated, said Mark Lopez, a demography researcher at Pew who specializes in U.S. Hispanics.
"In some states, like Florida, the Hispanic population have sometimes voted majority with a Republican presidential candidate. And the composition — Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Nicaraguans — is a mixture that is different than other parts of the country," he said.
In Florida, Cubans were about twice as likely (54 percent) as non-Cuban Hispanics (26 percent) to vote for Trump in 2016, according to National Election Pool exit poll data. Lopez said Cuban and evangelical Hispanics are more likely to vote for the Republican Party for their strong views against abortion. However, Mexicans, Salvadorans and Puerto Ricans, who tend to vote for Democratic candidates, make up a far greater share of the country's Hispanic demographic.