tags: Press Releases

2nd Installment of Latino Voter Poll Underscores Findings of RNC Memo: The GOP Must Change its Position on Immigration Reform and Can Make Progress with Latino Voters if it Does

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1st Poll Release Showed HOW Immigration Impacts Latinos’ Votes; 2nd Shows WHY Latino Voters’ Care so Much About Immigration Reform

According to a new Republican National Committee (RNC) analysis of the Party’s shortcomings in recent elections, the GOP’s embrace of hardline anti-immigrant policies is at the heart of their problems with Latino voters.  And as a new Latino Decisions poll makes clear, if the GOP successfully changes its position on the issue, the Party has a real chance to repair its image with Latinos and regain competitiveness on the national stage.

On a webinar today, Latino Decisions along with leaders from National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and America’s Voice discussed the second half of a new nationwide poll of Latino voters dissecting how Latino voters’ personal connection to the immigration debate influences their policy and political choices.

Said Gary Segura, Professor of American Politics and Chair of Chicano/a Studies at Stanford University and Principal at Latino Decisions, “There is no segmenting Latinos into those for whom immigration is important and those who have little interest.  Immigration reform is a highly salient issue across all generations, national origin groups and even political parties.  Latino voters are asking for comprehensive immigration reform.  Period.”

On today’s webinar, speakers examined why Latinos’ political decisions are so inextricably linked to the immigration debate; where they stand on the components of a pathway to citizenship; and how the findings relate to the recommendations laid out in the RNC’s report.  Among the highlights:

  • For Latino voters, the immigration debate is not just a policy debate—it’s personal.  According to the latest poll results from Latino Decisions, in two years, the share of Latino voters that know someone who’s undocumented increased by 10%, going from 53% in 2011 to 63% in 2013.  The share of Latino voters that know someone who’s faced detention or deportation proceedings also spiked by 14% between 2011 and 2013—in 2011, 25% said that they knew someone who’s faced deportation, while 39% said the same in 2013.
  • There’s hope for the GOP yet–Republicans can repair their image with Latino voters by embracing common sense immigration reform that includes access to full citizenship:
    According to the latest results, the actions Republicans take on this issue in the upcoming debate will be determinative.  If Republican Members of Congress change their position on immigration and embrace a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, they can reset their image with Latinos. Thirty-two percent of Latino voters said that they’d be more likely to vote Republican “if the leaders of the Republican worked hard to get a bill passed with Republican votes that includes a pathway to citizenship.”  As a corollary, 39% of Latino voters said they would be less likely to vote Republican “if a bill passes the U.S. Senate, but then gets defeated because Republicans in the House of Representatives vote it down.”

As the new RNC report says, “We are not a policy committee, but among the steps Republicans take in the Hispanic community and beyond we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our Party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only. We also believe that comprehensive immigration reform is consistent with Republican economic policies that promote job growth and opportunity for all.”

  • Latino voters support an immigration plan with a “clear pathway to citizenship” by a wide margin.  When read off two competing immigration proposals—one that includes a clear path to citizenship without linking it to border security and one that makes citizenship contingent on border security—Latino voters favored the plan with a clear path to citizenship over the plan which makes citizenship contingent on border security by a 70%-25% margin.  Additionally, when asked how much time undocumented immigrants need to wait before becoming eligible to apply for a green card and then citizenship, 79% indicated 5 years or less.  Only 15% chose 5-10 years, 2% said 10-15 years, and 2% said never.

“On immigration, the public has been in a much more pragmatic place than Congress on the issue, but now we’re starting to see signs of Congress catching up.  Not only are we seeing consensus to get this done, but we’re also seeing good policy and good politics meet on this issue,” said Clarissa Martinez de Castro, Director, Immigration and National Campaigns at NCLR.  “Having a demonizing and anti-immigrant image led to a huge decline in support for the GOP amongst Latino voters, and we applaud the RNC’s new report endorsing immigration reform and once again confirming that this is the year to deliver a solution.  As both the RNC’s new analysis and the polling shows, when it comes to Latino voters, issues matter, candidates matter and meaningful outreach is essential.”

Added Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “The poll shows why both parties have so much at stake regarding immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship.  The President and Democrats are unified because they want to deliver for a community that questions their follow through.  Republicans are moving towards embracing reform because their electoral future depends on it.  In the end, I think we’ll be surprised by how assertive Democrats are in promoting reform and by how many Republicans in both chambers vote for reform with a path to citizenship.”