Washington, DC – According to a new poll and updated analysis by America’s Voice and America’s Voice Education Fund, Latino voters are poised to play a major role in politics in 2010 and beyond. According to the new polling and reports, which were released today at a panel discussion event at the National Press Club, politicians who want to win over these voters must understand how issues like immigration reform influence the political choices of this fastest growing demographic group of voters.
“The poll results speak for themselves,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice and one of the three panelists. “Latino voters care deeply about immigration issues and expect their elected leaders to care about them too. Both parties ignore the emerging Latino vote at their own peril.”
A new poll of Latino voters in twelve states, conducted by Bendixen & Amandi, provides updated insight into how Latino voters view politicians from both parties, and the issue of comprehensive immigration reform. Among the key findings, the vast majority of respondents (78%) said the immigration issue is important to them and their family and by a 77%-11% margin, respondents favored comprehensive immigration reform over deportation-only alternatives.
Additionally, while Latino voters still support President Obama, they give lower marks to his performance on immigration thus far – half of respondents say he has done a “mediocre” or “bad” job on immigration issues. Still, Latino voters trust Obama to do the right thing on immigration, in stark contrast to their feelings about Republicans in Congress – 71% of respondents trusted Obama to “do the right thing” on immigration issues while only 24% trusted Republican Members of Congress on immigration issues.
“The immigration issue is personal to millions of Hispanic voters,” said panelist Sergio Bendixen, President of Bendixen & Amandi. “The undocumented are their family members, their neighbors, their co-workers and their friends. That is the major issue reason they consider immigration reform a high priority for this congress.”
Also released today was new analysis from America’s Voice and America’s Voice Education Fund about the rapidly-growing Latino electorate. The Power of the Latino Vote in the 2010 Elections examines trends in Latino voting patterns over time, and tracks more than forty battleground races where these voters will play a key role in 2010. This previously-issued report, updated to reflect the results of early primaries, shows that while pundits often assume that Latino voters only matter in areas that are solidly Democratic, they are poised to influence a number of battleground races in congressional districts and states, across the political and geographic map.
An updated edition of The New Constituents: How Latinos Will Shape Congressional Apportionment After the 2010 Census examines how Latino residents will shape the results of the 2010 Census, and reveals some surprising likely “winners” and “losers” in the subsequent congressional reapportionment. In fact, Latino voters are driving population growth in the states poised to gain representation in Congress and helping to stem further losses in states that are poised to lose seats.
“For Latinos in 2010, the word is accountability,” said Clarissa Martinez-De-Castro, a panelist and Director of Immigration and National Campaigns at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). “In 2008 we demonstrated our ability to influence and, in many cases, decide races from coast to coast. With an election coming in November, the Latino vote should be critically important to both parties. “
Martinez-De-Castro said support for reforming the nation’s immigration system would drive Latinos to the voting booth.
“Inaction on this issue is having tragic and devastating effects on our community every day,” she said. “And that is why in 2010, it will be a critical factor in how we gauge candidates. “
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