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Latino Decisions Poll: Challenges and Opportunities for Both Parties Pursuing Latino Vote

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On a webinar today, experts from Latino Decisions and America’s Voice released the final results of a new national poll of Latino registered voters, revealing how these voters view the politics of immigration in light of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on SB 1070 and the President’s decision to stop the deportation of DREAM-eligible youth.

The results, also posted on the Latino Decisions website, include:

Negative sentiments toward Arizona’s SB 1070: In the wake of SB 1070, Latinos expressed grave concern about what the law will mean for the community in Arizona and around the country.  Seventy-nine percent said that they believe it is likely that Latinos who are legal residents or U.S. citizens will be stopped and questioned by police, and 68% said that immigrants may be less likely to report crimes or volunteer information to the police.

Evaluation of Republican Mitt Romney’s statements on SB 1070: After hearing his statements on SB 1070, 63% of Spanish-dominant respondents and 53% of English-dominant Latino voters said that they were less enthusiastic about Romney.  Overall, 57% of Latino voters said that they were less enthusiastic about Romney after hearing his position on the issues.

Evaluations of the two parties’ efforts on immigration reform:  When asked how much they trust the two parties to “do what is right for Latinos,” 67% said they had little to no trust in the Republican Party; 23% said they trusted the GOP somewhat; and only 6% said they trusted the Republicans a lot.  In contrast, 35% said they had little to no trust that the Democratic Party would do what’s right for Latinos, while 37% said they trusted the Democrats somewhat and 22% said they had a lot of trust in the Dens.  President Obama fared slightly better than his party overall.  When it came to choosing who would “do a better job handling immigration reform” and a “long term solution,” Obama scored far ahead of Romney, with 63% choosing the President and just 19% choosing Romney.

Combined with the results of a five-state battleground survey in June, the new poll shows that Latinos continue to view immigration as an important and motivating issue.  Today, America’s Voice is also releasing new analysis of polling of non-Latinos, proving that there is a new paradigm in place when it comes to immigration.

Said Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice:

There’s a new dynamic that is at play in the politics of immigration.  President Obama is benefiting with Latino voters because he’s leaning into the issue, fighting the Arizona law and providing relief to hundreds of thousands of Dream Act-eligible youth.  He’s also benefiting from the fact that independent voters prefer pragmatic policies to inaction and paralysis even if they don’t vote on the issue.  Meanwhile, Romney is tethered to the far right on immigration and it’s hurting him with both Latinos and independents.  Obama senses the new reality and is seizing the opportunity.  Romney is doing neither.

Still, the poll identifies challenges and opportunities for both parties as they continue to court Latino voters before November.

According to Matt Barreto, Principal, Latino Decisions and an Associate Professor of political science at the University of Washington:

A clear majority of Latino voters are opposed to SB 1070, opposed to police checking immigration status, and concerned about racial profiling as a result.  The presidential candidates need to do a better job of outreach on the issue of SB 1070 and clarify exactly where they stand on the issue of state and local police intervening in immigration checks. The polling data shows very clearly that both Obama and Romney need to step up their outreach to Latino voters.

Today’s release marks the third and final installment of a poll of 504 Latino voters conducted nationwide between July 7 and 16, 2012.  Previously, the organizations had released new numbers on the Obama-Romney horse race on July 17th, and updated info on Latino voters’ opinions on SB 1070 at an event by Center for American Progress Action Fund on July 19th.


·        July 23rd Poll Release: Implications of the SB1070  Supreme Court decision on the 2012 election

·        July 19th Poll Release: Latinos React to SB 1070 Ruling

·        July 17th Poll Release: After SB1070 decision, Obama widens lead over Romney among Latinos

·        June 2012 Five State Battleground Poll

·        NEW America’s Voice Analysis: The New Immigration Paradigm