Background Information in Advance of Tonight’s Debate
Washington, DC – The issue of immigration reform is likely to be discussed in tonight’s debate between Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle. In a close race like this, Latino voters are poised to play a pivotal role in deciding the eventual outcome.
According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, “Sharron Angle’s ugly immigration attack ads are deeply offensive and send a clear message to Latinos in Nevada: the Republican Party does not want your vote. With Latino voters comprising 12% of the electorate, that move could prove to be fatal for Angle. When it comes to the issue of immigration reform, Harry Reid gets it; Sharron Angle does not. Americans of all backgrounds want a comprehensive solution. Demonizing Latinos and opposing common sense immigration is not only bad politics, it’s bad for the nation.”
Following are some resources on the politics of immigration and the Latino vote in Nevada:
- Harry Reid and Sharron Angle Are Diametrically Opposed on Immigration: Senate Majority Leader Reid is a strong advocate for immigration reform policies that are supported not only by Latino voters, but the broader electorate as well. Reid also was instrumental in bringing the DREAM Act up for Senate action in September. Meanwhile, Sharron Angle is adamantly opposed to common sense immigration reform and has attempted to prey upon fears and stereotypes in a series of attack ads. Even Tibi Ellis, the chairwoman of the Nevada Hispanic Republican Caucus and a spokesperson for Sharron Angle’s campaign, had strong criticism for Angle’s attacks on Reid, saying, “I condemned this type of propaganda, no matter who is running them.”
- Angle Doesn’t Get It: Majorities of Americans Support a Comprehensive Immigration Fix: As a roundup of recent polling demonstrates, most Americans and Nevadans are frustrated with the broken immigration system, but only some are angry at immigrants; most are fed-up with the federal government’s failure to solve the problem. They want their leaders to take bold action that ends illegal immigration, and the action they strongly prefer is a comprehensive approach that couples enforcement measures at the border and in the workplace with a program to register undocumented workers and get them on a path to full citizenship.
- Latino Voters Support Candidates Who Support Them: Latino Decisions’ weekly tracking polls show results for the Democratic Party following the DREAM Act debate in September, making it clear that when politicians lean into the issue, they galvanize support. According to Latino Decisions polling released October 4, 72% of Latino voters said the Senate “should have passed” the DREAM Act as an amendment to the Defense authorization bill, while only 17% thought the Republican Party’s successful efforts to block it were “the right thing to do.” In their latest weekly tracking poll of Latino voters from October 11th, Latino Decisions found that, nationwide, “74.9% of Latino registered voters state they are ‘almost certain’ to vote, up from 72.6% last week, and 65.6% two weeks ago. When asked about how enthusiastic they were about participating in the midterm election, 50.2% of Latinos said they were “very enthusiastic” about voting in November, up from 41.3% last week, and 40.3% two weeks ago.”
- Scapegoating Latinos is Not the Way to Galvanize Support: Latino voters have the power to change the outcome of a number of crucial races in 2010. In Nevada, Latino voters make up over 12% of the electorate and Latino voter turnout in Nevada jumped by over 164% between 2000 and 2008. In 2004, 76% of Nevada Latinos voted for Barack Obama, helping him win a state which George W. Bush captured in both 2000 and 2004. In 2010, new polling of Latino voters from Latino Decisions shows that Latino registered voters in Nevada favor Democrat candidates by a whopping 68% to 16% margin over Republicans. Sharron Angle’s spate of anti-Latino attack ads shows that she may have already written off the Latino vote. But that move could prove to be dangerous, as the race is looking to be tighter than ever, and it’s certainly not a viable long-term strategy for the GOP.
America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform