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New Poll a Warning to GOP: Immigration Continues to Surge in Importance with Latino Voters

by Mahwish Khan on 02/10/2011 at 6:58pm

New polling from Latino Decisions and Impremedia shows that immigration continues to surge in importance to Latino voters. 

In a January-February 2010 survey of 500 registered Latino voters, 47% chose immigration as their top issue, while 34% selected either jobs or the economy (21% for jobs and 13% for the economy).  This is up from November 2010, when 37% of Latino voters chose immigration as their top issue, compared to 48% identifying jobs or the economy (31% for jobs and 17% for the economy).

Bottomline: immigration is surging in importance to the fastest-growing voting demographic in the country.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are busy holding hearing after hearing to advocate for an immigration “policy” of mass deportation, which has nothing to do with actually fixing our immigration crisis and everything to do with fanning the flames of an already-heated debate.

This latest poll should serve as a stark reminder to the GOP. Their plan to deport the loved ones of Latino voters and, when it comes down to it, the entire U.S. agriculture industry, is not just terrible policy, it is a dangerous political strategy.

When asked whether the issue of immigration was a factor in their decision to vote and who to vote for in the November poll, 60% of Latinos said it was either “the most important” issue or “one of the most important” issues. 

Similarly, when asked whether anti-immigrant or anti-Latino sentiment during the 2010 election season influenced their decision to vote, and who to vote for, 53% of respondents said it was either “the most important” issue or “one of the most important” issues.

Republicans should not forget that in some of the more competitive 2010 Senate races in November, Latino voters turned out for Democrats in a big way. Latino voters helped Barbara Boxer win over Carly Fiorina by a 86% – 14% margin in California; for Michael Bennet over Ken Buck in Colorado 81% – 19%; and for Harry Reid over a very anti-immigrant Sharron Angle in Nevada by a 90% – 8% margin. 

Immigration played a key role in influencing such a dramatic split in these and other races.

Not only is the GOP committing suicide with Latino voters, they are advocating policies that would severely damage entire sectors of our economy.

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