In a heavily Dominican section of the West Bronx, where more than three-quarters of the population is Latino, Mr. Trump won just 5 percent of the vote in 2016. In 2020, he carried more than 15 percent. In the neighborhood where Ms. Rodriguez lives and works, his support grew from under 15 percent to around 27 percent.
Experts said some voters were drawn to Mr. Trump by a mixture of economic policy, religious values and their belief that he is a strong leader. And though Mr. Biden still overwhelmingly won the city, collecting 72 percent of the total vote across the five boroughs on his way to winning the election, the president’s improved performance startled some Democrats.
Even now, weeks after the election, it remains unclear whether some Latino voters’ apparent shift toward a Republican candidate represents a lasting reshaping of traditional political allegiances or a phenomenon unique to an unconventional president.
“With Trump there is a kind of eclectic mix of policies — anti-trade, and easy money, and you have a very good economy — which can play into, ‘This seems to be working for me,’” said Daniel DiSalvo, a professor of political science at City College, and the author of “Engines of Change: Party Factions in American Politics.”
“Trump did have a basket of policies that were potentially appealing to those groups in a way that maybe some people couldn’t see,” he said.
George L. Rosario, 48, who runs a real estate company and is from Ridgewood, Queens, believes the president’s economic policies helped Latino small business owners like him. And he agrees with the president’s stance on immigration — even though, Mr. Rosario says, some peers accuse him of turning his back on his own community by supporting the president.
“When there are people standing in line to get here legally, and when you have people jumping the line and hurting the community, that is a big issue for anyone, including a small-business owner,” said Mr. Rosario, who also runs a public speaking and marketing agency. Mr. Rosario said he had been registered as an independent and voted for Barack Obama, but in 2016 he switched to the Republican Party and voted for President Trump.