Field Poll shows Republican Latinos favor Cruz over Trump

FILE: Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz speak on Jan. 14, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina.
FILE: Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz speak on Jan. 14, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina.
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If you think there aren’t any Latinos in California who support Donald Trump for president, or Ted Cruz for that matter, think again. 

Fifteen percent of Republicans surveyed for a new Field Poll, and likely to vote in California's June 7  primary, are Latino. Of these, 35 percent favor Cruz and 32 percent support Trump, according to the poll.

Both candidates have strong positions on immigration that have turned off other Latinos.

Trump has proposed building a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border to keep out immigrants. 

"They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people," he said in June 2015. The Republican frontrunner has also called for the deportation of all immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, roughly 11.5 million people.

Cruz has also called for a "wall that works," an increase in deportations and an end to federal benefits for those who lack legal status, according to his campaign website. "American taxpayers should not be funding benefits for those who are here illegally, and American jobs should not go to those who are here illegally," he stated.

GOP strategist Mike Madrid said Latinos who favor Trump or Cruz have their reasons. 

“Whether they are religious convictions, whether they are economic convictions, whether they are issues related to the border and border issues — whatever your personal rationale is for being a Latino Republican, you know what they are, and you stick to those,” he said.

But Madrid points out that 14 percent of these voters are still undecided, according to the Field Poll.

“You have two candidates that Latino Republicans aren’t too excited about,” Madrid said.

With former GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio now out of the race, the Republicans are choosing among the candidate options left in their party.

Madrid said about 700,000 Latino Republicans live in California — significant enough to help determine who wins the GOP primary.

Among all GOP likely voters surveyed in the poll, Trump leads Cruz 39 percent to 32 percent statewide. John Kasich is favored by 18 percent of those surveyed.

There was wide variation by region in the survey results. Cruz polls stronger in Los Angeles County and the Central Valley-Sierras while Trump has more support in Southern California outside of L.A. County and the Bay Area.

That variation can matter since GOP convention delegates are determined according to which candidate wins the most primary votes for each of California's 53 congressional districts. The process could "dilute the delegate advantages accrued by the winner of the June 7 California primary," the Field Poll researchers said.  

Not all conservative Latinos favor Trump or Cruz, nor the harsh tone of much of the immigration rhetoric heard in the presidential race.

Last fall, the California Republican Party voted to amend language related to immigration in its platform, changes that included a statement that Republicans "hold diverse views" on "what to do with the millions of people who are currently here illegally."