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CNN Polls: Voters Strongly Support Pro-immigrant Policies. Obama leading Romney among Latinos 70%-24%

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A set of new CNN polls show how the politics of immigration have shifted dramatically in favor of pro-immigrant policies and candidates.Support for DREAMer Relief is sky high at, hovering at 80%. Support for a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants is at a new high of 56%. And, Obama’s Latino support, 70%, is also a new record. More details:

  • With respect to President Obama’s policy of protecting young people eligible for the DREAM Act, a CNN/ORC poll on immigration policy found that a whopping 64% of registered voters said the new policy was “about right,” while 15% said it does not go far enough.  Only 18% said it goes too far.
  • The same poll found that 56% of Americans want the main focus of U.S. immigration policy regarding undocumented immigrants to be on developing a plan that would allow them to become legal residents.  39% said the focus should be on deporting undocumented immigrants and stopping more from coming to the U.S.  According to CNN, “That’s a change from one year ago, when 55% said the focus should be deportation, and 42% said the focus should be developing a path to legal residency. In 2010, 61% named deportation as more important, while 37% identified a plan for legal residency as a priority.”
  • Another CNN poll, this one of likely Latino voters, shows that 70% plan to vote for President Obama while Governor Romney stands at 24%.  This margin is consistent with the tracking polling conducted by Latino Decisions for Impremedia, whose most recent results showed Obama leading Romney by 73% to 21%.  This is a far cry from the Romney campaign’s stated goal of securing 38% of the Hispanic vote; less than the 31% John McCain won in 2008; and much less than the 40% George W. Bush received in 2004.  One factor: on immigration, 74% say the President would better handle policymaking, while only 20% named Romney.

According to our Executive Director Frank Sharry:

The old conventional wisdom on immigration politics has been turned on its head.  The old conventional wisdom held that standing up for immigrants serves to rally conservatives and backfire with swing voters.  And it held that Latinos did not care enough, vote enough or count enough to compensate.  But when 8 out of 10 Americans think the President did the right thing—or that he didn’t go far enough—when he made a bold move for undocumented youth, and 6 out of 10 Americans think the priority should be to get undocumented immigrants onto a path to legal status, and when 7 out 10 voters in the fastest growing demographic in the electorate favor the President who acted boldly for DREAMers over the candidate who promised to veto the DREAM Act, the new reality is on full display.

Strong majorities back Obama’s move for DREAMers and a path to legal status for the undocumented.  And Latinos are poised to be the difference in a number of battleground states, including Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida and Virginia.  Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has painted himself into a corner by tethering himself to the nativist wing of the GOP.

Welcome to the new paradigm of immigration politics.