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As 40% of All Voters in the State, Latinos’ Overwhelming Support for Democrats Turned State Deep Blue in 2012
SANTA FE, NM – The 2012 elections demonstrate that, as the rest of the country takes note of the growing impact of Latino and new citizen voters, they should look to New Mexico to see what that could mean. Newly-released election-eve polling from impreMedia and Latino Decisions – which surveyed Latino voters nationally and in eleven states, including New Mexico – shows how these voters’ growing influence, and their attention to the candidates’ positions on immigration and other top Latino issues, have rapidly turned a once-swing state deep blue.
Latino Decisions estimates that Latinos comprised nearly 40% of the New Mexico electorate on Tuesday, and the new polling shows these voters supported Obama over Romney by 77% to 21%, for a net contribution of 22.2 percentage points to Obama. Latinos were similarly influential in the U.S. Senate race, supporting Democrat Martin Heinrich over Republican Heather Wilson by a margin of 79% to 20%, helping ensure Heinrich’s victory and keep the Senate in Democratic hands. In both races, an overwhelming show of support from a large number of Latino voters ensured easy victories for Democrats.
While the families of many New Mexico Latinos have lived in the state for generations, the new polling offers further evidence that immigration remains a visceral and personal issue for the state’s Latino community. A majority of voters surveyed (53%) told Latino Decisions that they know someone who is undocumented, and 50% said that President Obama’s decision to grant deferred action to DREAMers this summer made them more enthusiastic about voting for him.
According to Gabriel Sanchez of Latino Decisions, “Our data suggests that unless the Republican party can improve its national brand and outreach to Hispanic voters in New Mexico it may be nearly impossible for them to ever earn New Mexico’s electoral votes in the future. Making this happen will require some major changes to the GOP stance and messaging on immigration, as an amazing 52% of Hispanic voters in New Mexico stated that Romney’s positions on immigration, which included self-deportation, made them less enthusiastic about his campaign.”
According to Frank Sharry of America’s Voice Education Fund, “The GOP’s lurch to the right on immigration destroyed their chances of re-taking the White House and the Senate. Obama leaned into the issue by protecting DREAMers, a move that mobilized Latino voters and did not hurt him with swing voters. As a result, the 2012 election is a game-changer. It produced a mandate for immigration reform.”
Latino Decisions has been called the “gold standard” of Latino voter polling, using highly sophisticated methods to identify Latino voters who are extremely likely to vote and ensure a representative sample. More information on the methods used by Latino Decisions to complete the 2010 election eve survey is available here.
Among the poll’s findings:
New Mexico Latinos Influence the Outcomes of National and State Races
Top Issues for Latino Voters
Immigration Isn’t Just Policy, It’s Personal
For the full results from New Mexico, other battleground states, and the national poll, click http://dl.dropbox.com/u/44794321/Latino_Election_Eve_Poll_By_state.pdf.