PUBLIC POLLING ON IMMIGRATION REFORM

New Five State Latino Battleground Poll Highlights Democrats’ Lead, Growing Voter Enthusiasm

by Mahwish Khan on 06/27/2012

June 2012

Latino Decisions and America’s Voice Examine Role of Immigration Reform in Presidential, House, and Senate Contests in AZ, CO, FL, NV, VA

Today, Latino Decisions and America’s Voice released the latest installment of their Latino voter poll in five battleground states (AZ, CO, FL, NV, VA).  In an on-the-record webinar and press briefing, Matt Barreto of Latino Decisions and Frank Sharry of America’s Voice reviewed the most recent poll findings and demonstrated how a ground-breaking online tool (developed by Latino Decisions and America’s Voice Education Fund) provides a hands-on way for users to see how Latino turnout and candidate choice will impact the Presidential race.

As the poll results make clear, Democrats remain firmly in the lead with Latino voters, and have even expanded their advantage following the President’s highly publicized decision to allow young undocumented immigrants who came here as children to apply for work permits.  According to Matt Barreto, Principal at Latino Decisions and an Adjunct Professor of political science at the University of Washington, “The battleground polling data shows quite convincingly that the Obama DHS announcement created a Latino enthusiasm bump.  The question now is whether that can be sustained until election day.”

Comparing surveys completed before and after June 15th, when the President made this announcement, Obama’s approval ratings on immigration shot up 16 percentage points and he gained 10 points in the overall ballot.  The President wasn’t the only beneficiary of this bounce: the Democrats’ advantage with Latinos in a generic House match-up rose 10 percentage points following the announcement.  Four of these five states will also see competitive Senate battles this cycle, and Democrats are polling well there too.

Romney’s evasive response to the question of whether he would keep or repeal the DREAMer policy change, and refusal to comment on the substance of the Supreme Court’s decision about the Arizona anti-immigration law, have hurt him with Latino voters over the past two weeks.  Romney lost 10 percentage points in the overall ballot, and enthusiasm for voting has shot up among Latinos—meaning he is poised to win a smaller share of a larger pool of Latino voters.  After all, it’s not just the percentage of Latino voters choosing one party or another that matters; it’s also number of voters who show up at the polls.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director at America’s Voice, “The road to the White House in 2012 goes through the Latino community.  Immigration has emerged as an issue that is mobilizing Hispanic voters and drawing a stark contrast that is benefitting Obama over Romney.”

The Latino Decisions/America’s Voice Latino battleground poll was conducted in five important state—Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Virginia—and the state-by-state results are equally compelling.

Immigration was one of the top two issues in each of the five states, number 1 in both Arizona and Virginia.

While most Latino voters here have a direct and personal relationship to the issue of immigration reform (55% know someone who is undocumented and 30% know someone who has been in detention or deportation proceedings), voters in Nevada and Arizona are most likely to have that connection, with 74% of Nevada Latinos and 68% of Arizonans knowing someone who is undocumented, and 41% of Nevadans and 37% of Arizonans knowing someone in detention or deportation proceedings.

While Florida remains the Latino battleground state where Romney and the Republicans perform the best, half or more Florida Latinos still plan to support Obama for President and Bill Nelson for Senate, with sizable numbers of voters still undecided (10% in the presidential race and 18% in the Senate).

Added Barreto, “With national polls showing a very close election, Latino voters will be more influential than ever in 2012 in a variety of states across the country.  While states in the Southwest and Florida are well known Latino battlegrounds, our data indicate that Latinos will be influential in Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and more in 2012.”

Read on for comparisons of Latino voter opinion before and after the June 15th policy change, as well as other data from the combined battleground survey and individual states.

LATINO VOTERS BEFORE AND AFTER THE OBAMA DREAMER ANNOUNCEMENT

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is currently doing on immigration?

Before 6/15

After 6/15

Strongly approve

21

35

Somewhat approve

24

26

Somewhat disapprove

14

11

Strongly disapprove

28

19

Total approve

45

61

Total disapprove

42

30

 

If the 2012 election for President was held today and the candidates were Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barack Obama who would you most likely vote for?

Before 6/15

After 6/15

Obama

57

67

Romney

33

23

Undecided

10

10

 

Now thinking about the upcoming elections for U.S. Congress in November, do you plan to vote for the [ROTATE: Democratic candidate or the Republican candidate] in your district?

Before 6/15

After 6/15

Democrat

49

59

Republican

30

22

Undecided

21

19

 

Thinking ahead to the November 2012 presidential election, how enthusiastic are you about voting in the election next year?

Before 6/15

After 6/15

Very enthusiastic

56

63

Somewhat enthusiastic

25

22

Not too enthusiastic

10

10

Not at all enthusiastic

6

4

COMBINED BATTLEGROUND DATA

AZ, CO, FL, NV, VA

President

U.S. Senate

U.S. House

Republican

27

28

25

Democrat

63

55

56

Undecided

10

17

19

  • Across all five key states, the most important issue Latino voters want the President and Congress to address is jobs/the economy (a combined 54% of voters), followed by immigration (44% of voters). Eleven percent of Latino voters believe health care is one of the most important issues facing the country, and ten percent believe education is among the most important issues.
  • 60% of Latino voters across the sample expressed concern that a Supreme Court ruling upholding SB 1070 would contribute to an anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic climate around the country. 28% believed it would have no effect.
  • 55% of Latino voters across the five states have a family member, friend or co-worker who is undocumented, and 30% know someone who has faced detention or deportation.
  • 67% of Latino voters responding to the survey say that President Obama’s recent announcement protecting DREAMers from deportation and allowing them to get work permits has made them more enthusiastic about voting for him in November.
  • Across the five states, 59% of Latino voters say that Mitt Romney’s previous support for “self-deportation” makes them less enthusiastic about voting for him in November.

ARIZONA

 

ARIZONA

President

U.S. Senate

U.S. House

Republican

18

19

16

Democrat

74

64

66

Undecided

8

17

18

  • The most important issue Latino voters want the President and Congress to address is immigration (55% of voters), followed by jobs/the economy (a combined 49% of voters). Eleven percent of Latino voters believe health care is one of the most important issues facing the country, and ten percent believe education is among the most important issues.
  • 65% of Arizona voters expressed concern that a Supreme Court ruling upholding SB 1070 would contribute to an anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic climate around the country. 24% believed it would have no effect.
  • In Arizona, 68% of Latino voters have a family member, friend or co-worker who is undocumented, and 37% know someone who has faced detention or deportation.
  • 65% of Latino voters in Arizona say that President Obama’s recent announcement protecting DREAMers from deportation and allowing them to get work permits has made them more enthusiastic about voting for him in November.
  • In Arizona, 63% of Latino voters say that Mitt Romney’s previous support for “self-deportation” makes them less enthusiastic about voting for him in November.

COLORADO

COLORADO

President

U.S. Senate

U.S. House

Republican

22

NA

19

Democrat

70

NA

65

Undecided

8

NA

16

  • The most important issue Latino voters want the President and Congress to address is jobs/the economy (a combined 50% of voters), followed by immigration (39% of voters). Seventeen percent of Latino voters believe health care is one of the most important issues facing the country, and twelve percent believe education is among the most important issues.
  • 56% of Colorado voters expressed concern that a Supreme Court ruling upholding SB 1070 would contribute to an anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic climate around the country. 33% believed it would have no effect.
  • In Colorado, 60% of Latino voters have a family member, friend or co-worker who is undocumented, and 35% know someone who has faced detention or deportation.
  • 56% of Latino voters in Colorado say that President Obama’s recent announcement protecting DREAMers from deportation and allowing them to get work permits has made them more enthusiastic about voting for him in November.
  • In Colorado, 55% of Latino voters say that Mitt Romney’s previous support for “self-deportation” makes them less enthusiastic about voting for him in November.

FLORIDA

FLORIDA

President

U.S. Senate

U.S. House

Republican

37

32

31

Democrat

53

50

48

Undecided

10

18

21

  • The most important issue Latino voters in Florida want the President and Congress to address is jobs/the economy (a combined 56% of voters), followed by immigration (39% of voters). Ten percent of Latino voters believe education is one of the most important issues facing the country, and 8% believe health care is among the most important issues.
  • 58% of Florida voters expressed concern that a Supreme Court ruling upholding SB 1070 would contribute to an anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic climate around the country. 30% believed it would have no effect.
  • In Florida, 45% of Latino voters have a family member, friend or co-worker who is undocumented, and 24% know someone who has faced detention or deportation.
  • 71% of Latino voters in Florida say that President Obama’s recent announcement protecting DREAMers from deportation and allowing them to get work permits has made them more enthusiastic about voting for him in November.
  • In Florida, 57% of Latino voters say that Mitt Romney’s previous support for “self-deportation” makes them less enthusiastic about voting for him in November.

NEVADA

NEVADA

President

U.S. Senate

U.S. House

Republican

20

30

23

Democrat

69

53

62

Undecided

11

17

15

  • The most important issue Latino voters in Nevada want the President and Congress to address is jobs/the economy (a combined 57% of voters), followed by immigration (52% of voters). Ten percent of Latino voters believe health care is one of the most important issues facing the country, and five percent believe education is among the most important issues.
  • 65% of Nevada voters expressed concern that a Supreme Court ruling upholding SB 1070 would contribute to an anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic climate around the country. 24% believed it would have no effect.
  • In Nevada, 74% of Latino voters have a family member, friend or co-worker who is undocumented, and 41% know someone who has faced detention or deportation.
  • 63% of Latino voters in Nevada say that President Obama’s recent announcement protecting DREAMers from deportation and allowing them to get work permits has made them more enthusiastic about voting for him in November.
  • In Nevada, 63% of Latino voters say that Mitt Romney’s previous support for “self-deportation” makes them less enthusiastic about voting for him in November.

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA

President

U.S. Senate

U.S. House

Republican

28

32

24

Democrat

59

53

59

Undecided

13

15

17

  • The most important issue Latino voters in Virginia want the President and Congress to address is immigration (55% of voters), with jobs/the economy very close behind (a combined 54% of voters). Thirteen percent of Latino voters believe health care is one of the most important issues facing the country, and nine percent believe education is among the most important issues.
  • 58% of Virginia voters expressed concern that a Supreme Court ruling upholding SB 1070 would contribute to an anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic climate around the country. 27% believed it would have no effect.
  • In Virginia, 60% of voters have a family member, friend or co-worker who is undocumented, and 33% know someone who has faced detention or deportation.
  • 65% of Latino voters in Virginia say that President Obama’s recent announcement protecting DREAMers from deportation and allowing them to get work permits has made them more enthusiastic about voting for him in November.
  • In Virginia, 60% of Latino voters say that Mitt Romney’s previous support for “self-deportation” makes them less enthusiastic about voting for him in November.

ABOUT THE POLL

Latino Decisions interviewed 2,000 Latino registered voters between June 12-21, 2012 using live, bilingual telephone callers, with 400 each in AZ, CO, FL, NV, VA.  Overall, the entire sample has a margin of error of +/- 2.2% and each state sample has a margin of error of +/-4.9%.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • Link to today’s presentation
  • Link to toplines of all questions released to date
  • Poll analysis: Supreme Court decision on SB 1070 could alienate Latino voters
  • Poll analysis:  Obama leads Romney among Latinos in key battleground states
  • Poll analysis: Latino voters in battleground states enthusiastic about Obama DREAM announcement, oppose Romney “self-deport” alternative
  • www.latinovotemap.org – interactive voter map from Latino Decisions and America’s Voice Education Fund

 

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