Three-quarters of Latino voters disapprove of Trump's coronavirus response in poll

Nearly three-quarters of Latinos disapprove of President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus response, and a similar share blame him for having become ill with Covid-19 himself, according to the latest results of a weekly tracking poll.

In the poll released Tuesday by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, 73 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that Trump got infected with Covid-19 because he was behaving irresponsibly and didn't take proper precautions. The same share said they disapproved of his handling of the pandemic.

"After seven weeks of tracking Latino sentiments leading up to the election, it is difficult to overstate the impact that COVID-19 has had on the Latino electorate," Stephen Nuño-Perez, a senior analyst with the polling operation Latino Decisions, said in a statement. "This is an 'all hands on deck' issue that any candidate must address if they want to connect with Latino voters."

Nuño-Perez told reporters in a video conference call that it is unprecedented for a single issue to dominate nationally among Latino voters, as the pandemic has.

"We have seen other issues, like immigration, dominate in some states, but never from a national perspective," Nuño-Perez said.

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The poll found that in the seventh week of nine weeks of tracking, 29 percent of the 400 respondents said they knew someone who had died from Covid-19, while 26 percent said they had had trouble getting food, medicine or basic household needs because of the pandemic. It found that 41 percent said they had had to dip into savings and retirement funds to pay such costs.

Twenty-nine percent said they had lost their jobs over recent months, up from 23 percent in the first week of the poll.

The Trump campaign has been emphasizing the country's economic growth before the pandemic as Trump seeks another term in office, and it has been avoiding acknowledging the devastating impact of the virus. By contrast, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has been bashing Trump over his handling of the pandemic.

When Trump returned to the campaign trail after having been hospitalized and treated for the virus, he claimed that he was immune to it. Trump has been holding large rallies and events where prevention protocols are followed less strictly.

A separate NBC News/Survey Monkey Tracking poll found that 52 percent of Americans don't trust what Trump has said about his health since he became ill.

Latinos have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus compared to non-Hispanic whites, and recently a global health expert in Texas told Latino members of Congress that the nation is witnessing the "historic decimation" of Latino families.

Sixteen percent of Latinos polled said they had already voted, 68 percent said they had encouraged relatives and friends to vote, and 56 percent said they had been contacted by a party or another organization about the election, the highest percentage in the seven weeks of the tracking poll and higher than in polling in other elections, Nuño-Perez said.

Dorian Coral, director of civic engagement research for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, said, "The Latino community is really having their voice heard."

Each week, 400 new respondents are surveyed for the tracking poll, although 100 more were added during the fifth week for broader response to the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The poll, which was conducted Oct. 12-17, reported a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

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