PUBLIC POLLING ON IMMIGRATION REFORM

High Expectation of Hispanics for Immigration Reform

by Mahwish Khan on 05/18/2009

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Description: The results of a new poll of Hispanic voters in thirteen key states, consisting of 800 Hispanic voters in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New York, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia, shows the importance of comprehensive immigration reform to Hispanic voters, underscores their belief that immigration reform should be a priority this year, and highlights the challenges and opportunities for both Republicans and Democrats on this important issue.

Findings:

Latino Voters Trust Obama on Immigration Issues and Expect Him to Move Forward on Immigration Reform as a Year One Priority: 72 percent of respondents think President Obama will keep his campaign promise and move a comprehensive immigration reform bill forward before the end of his first year in office. Notably, 83 percent of respondents thought that President Obama “will do the right thing” on immigration vs. only 10 percent who thought he “will not do the right thing” (7 percent don’t know).

While Latino Voters Trust Obama on Immigration, They Are Less Trusting of Congressional Democrats and Wholly Suspicious of Congressional Republicans: 83 percent of respondents trust President Obama to “do the right thing” on immigration, compared to 69 percent trust in Democrats in Congress and 23 percent trust in Congressional Republicans.

Latino Voters Think Obama Should Tackle Immigration Reform Alongside the Economic Recovery: 69 percent of voters supported President Obama working on both the economic recovery and immigration reform in 2009 while only 29 percent thought he should focus on the economic recovery and put off immigration reform until after the midterm elections.

Immigration is an Intensely Personal Issue: 82 percent of respondents called the immigration issue personally important (59 percent “very important”) and 69 percent said they personally have an undocumented friend, family member, or other acquaintance.

A Candidate’s Immigration Position is a Threshold Issue: 87 percent of respondents said they would not consider voting for a Congressional candidate who was in favor of forcing most of the undocumented population to leave the country. While 56 percent of respondents called the weak economy the biggest problem facing the nation, a sensible immigration position is clearly a prerequisite for candidates hoping to attract support from Hispanic voters.

The Divisive Rhetoric of the Immigration Debate Has Corroded the GOP Brand Image: Nearly two-thirds of respondents (64 percent) agreed that during the last two years, discrimination against Hispanics had increased because of the negative tone and the rhetoric of the immigration debate. Many respondents assign blame towards the GOP. By a 71 percent to 11 percent margin, respondents believed that the Democratic Party best represented the opinion of the Hispanic community on immigration issues vs. the Republican Party. Additionally, only 23 percent of respondents thought that Republicans “will do the right thing” on immigration issues, while a whopping 60 percent thought Republicans “will not do the right thing” (17 percent don’t know).

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