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Presidential Election Race 2016: Jeb Bush Trails Hillary Clinton Among Latinos

First Posted: Apr 08, 2015 05:12 PM EDT
Jeb Bush trails Hillary Clinton among Latinos

Photo : Andy Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Despite his personal connections to the Latino community and his moderate stance on immigration --sometimes inconvenient within his own party -- Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush is not nearly as popular among Hispanic voters as is Hillary Clinton, the presumed Democratic frontrunner, ABC News reported.

In a poll, the network conducted along with the Washington Post, the former Florida governor and brother of President George W. Bush trails the former secretary of State by a margin of 3-to-1 with registered Hispanic voters. Mitt Romney, whose views on immigration were considerably more restrictive than Bush's, earned about the same level of support from Latinos in the 2012 presidential election, the channel added.

Bush, who is married to a Mexican-born philanthropist and speaks fluent Spanish, suffers in part from the overall image of the Republican Party, with which only 15 percent of Hispanics identify. Forty-five percent of the group, meanwhile, consider themselves Democrats -- and the rest is composed largely of Democratic-leaning independents, according to the poll.

The Floridian, who has not officially announced a bid in the 2016 White House race but is widely expected to run, has been courting Latinos to the point of listing himself as 'Hispanic' on a 2009 voter form, the New York Times reported.

Bush said the wrongly checked box was an inadvertent error. "My mistake! Don't think I've fooled anyone!" he joked on Twitter, proclaiming himself an "honorary Latino" in the accompanying hashtag.

The 62-year-old has long insisted that the nation needs what he calls a "grown-up" immigration plan, an issue that has often put him at odds with the GOP, according to the Wall Street Journal. Bush supports granting legal status to some undocumented immigrants as part of a broader immigration overhaul, the newspaper noted.

"It's easy to say, 'Well, anything you propose is amnesty,' but that's not a plan," Bush said during a mid-March discussion with business leaders in New Hampshire, where the nation's first primaries will be held.

"That's a sentiment, that's not a plan. I think the best plan ... is once you control the border and you're confident it's not going to be another magnet, is to say, 'Let's let these folks achieve earned legal status where they work, where they come out of the shadows,'" he added.

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