On behalf of America’s Voice, Bendixen&Amandi conducted a national poll of 1,010 Latino voters in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New York, New Mexico, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia in December 2009. Interviews were conducted in Spanish and English and the margin of error was 3%.
Immigration is a key issue for the Latino electorate. While more respondents chose issues such as the economy and health care than immigration as their number one priority, 78% said the immigration issue is important to them and their family, including 51% who called it “very important.” The issue is particularly salient among the 55% of respondents who were foreign‐born; 84% of foreign‐born voters called the immigration issue “important,” with 64% labeling it “very important.”
The vast majority of Latino voters support comprehensive immigration reform. By a 77%‐11% margin, respondents favored an immigration plan that would legalize undocumented workers over one that would force most of the undocumented population to leave the country.
Immigration reform is a personal issue to Latinos.The poll found 62 percent of respondents reported having an undocumented friend, family member, neighbor, or co‐worker. For these respondents, immigration reform is not an abstract concept discussed on the nightly news, but a personal matter that requires a fair and humane solution.
Latino voters still support President Obama, but give lower marks to his performance on immigration thus far. While President Obama retains support among Latino voters, with 65% of respondents describing his job performance as “excellent” or “good,” his marks on immigration issues are less impressive. Half of respondents said President Obama has done a “mediocre” or “bad” job on immigration issues, while just 40% called his performance on immigration excellent” or “good.”
Still, Latino voters trust Obama to do the right thing on immigration, in stark contrast to their feelings about Republicans in Congress. While Latino voters may give President Obama mixed marks on immigration issues thus far, 71% of respondents still trusted him to “do the right thing” on immigration issues vs. 20% who did not. Trust in Obama eclipsed voters’ trust in congressional Democrats, who were trusted by 62% and not trusted by 27%. Notably, 64% of respondents did not trust Republican Members of Congress on immigration issues, while 24% did.
Latinos are poised to make a difference in November. While this survey was conducted a year before the next election and a lot can change in that time frame, 73% of respondents said they were very likely to vote in November 2010, and 20% said they were somewhat likely. Fully 65% said they were more likely to support generic Democratic candidates for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, while 20% said they would vote Republican and 15% were undecided. However, 72% of Latino voters said they would not even consider voting for a candidate whose stance on immigration reform was to try and deport most undocumented immigrants.