New Poll Shows 42% of Americans Believe Speaking Spanish in Debates is “Pandering”

According to the results of a poll conducted before Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debate, approximately 42% of American voters believe speaking Spanish during debates is “pandering.”

Wednesday night, during the first of the Democrats’ 2020 debates, candidate Beto O’Rourke drew mixed reactions as he fielded a question in Spanish.

Later in the debate, O’Rourke’s rival candidate Cory Booker also spoke Spanish.

From The Hill:

A poll conducted ahead of this week’s Democratic presidential debates found that 42 percent of U.S. adults believe that speaking Spanish during a televised presidential debate is “pandering” rather than “respectful.”

The YouGov survey conducted between June 21 and 24 found that 31 percent of U.S. adults said speaking Spanish during the debates is respectful, while 27 percent did not know.

A plurality of Democrats, 46 percent, said they believed, however, that speaking Spanish during a debate was respectful, compared to 32 percent who said it was pandering. Thirty-seven percent of Hispanic adults said speaking Spanish during a debate is respectful, compared to 27 percent who said it was pandering.

During Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debate, both former Rep. Beto O’Rourke(Texas) and Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.)  spoke Spanish and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro also used a few Spanish words. 

A majority of respondents, 56 percent, said that overall it was either somewhat or very positive for a presidential candidate to be fluent in a second language that is not English.

Researchers conducted an online survey of 1,258 U.S. adults including 462 Democrats, 305 Republicans, and 330 independents.