On July 9, 2020, in a White House event with other Hispanic leaders, Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue said he felt “truly blessed” to have a leader like President Trump.
Soon after, liberal Hispanic political figures like Julián Castro and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter with the hashtags #Goyaway and #BoycottGoya to call for a boycott of Goya Foods. Anti-Trump Republican strategist Ana Navarro-Cárdenas also weighed in, encouraging her Twitter followers to support alternative Hispanic heritage brands like Badia and Conchita.
It is unclear what effect this will have on Goya’s popularity with Hispanic consumers or other segments; what is clear, however, is that the controversy merits a closer look at the politics of U.S. multicultural consumers.
In June 2020, Collage Group asked a nationally representative sample of over 2300 respondents where they stood on personal ideology and, for our 18+ respondents, who they intend to vote for in the presidential election this November.
And it’s the latter question that probably motivated President Trump’s meeting yesterday with Hispanic leaders like Unanue. Our research shows that multicultural consumers, including the Hispanic segment, have a decisive preference for presumptive democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Black consumers have the strongest support for Biden, with 71% intending to vote for the Democratic front-runner come November. A little over half of the Hispanic and Asian segments say they will most likely vote for Biden as well. These within-segment majorities may seem fragile, but it holds a solid lead over the mere 20 percent of Hispanic and Asian consumers who plan to vote for President Trump.
Additionally, we see no indication in our data that Hispanic Acculturation or heritage country influences these voting intentions. While Hispanic consumers of Mexican and Cuban heritage do tend to be more conservative, and those of Puerto Rican or South American heritage tend to be more liberal, these patterns do not show up in Hispanic 2020 election preferences.
This may be because most Hispanic consumers perceive the Trump Administration to have had a negative impact on their personal lives. From our most recent data on racism in the United States, we see that 70 percent of Hispanic consumers agree that discrimination against the Hispanic/Latino community has gotten worse since the 2016 election.
Overall, Hispanic consumers today tend to be less conservative, but not necessarily more liberal, than the White segment. Asian consumers as well are less likely to be conservative than White consumers, and they are also more likely to identify as moderates. The Black segment, however, is significantly more likely to identify as liberal.
So, what can brands do with this information? First, recognize that President Trump is deeply unpopular with multicultural consumers. Any signals of support for the Trump Administration threatens substantial backlash across multicultural communities. For the Hispanic community specifically, President Trump’s history of anti-Hispanic sentiment and action has turned off consumers who historically share a preference for conservative politics.
At the same time, you need to recognize that most multicultural consumers do not actively identify with liberal politics either. To best navigate the coming months, you need to identify the specific issue areas multicultural consumers want brands like you to act.