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New Latino Polling: Surprise, Latinos Motivated by Immigration Reform

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Powerful Latino Voting Block of 2008 May Stay Home in 2010 Without Reform 

Washington, DC – New polling of Latino voters reveals that 1) this group is among the least energized heading into the 2010 elections; and 2) progress on comprehensive immigration reform is key to re-energizing these voters. 

Latino Decisions researcher and Stanford University professor Dr. Gary Segura highlighted and analyzed the findings: “Among all the key constituents in the 2008 Obama victory, Latino voters appear to be among the least enthusiastic about voting in the 2010 midterm,” he said. The poll found that just 49% of Latino registered voters who say they are very enthusiastic about voting, an all time low.  In the 2006 mid-terms, 60% of Latinos turned out, and their self-reported enthusiasm prior to the election was 77%.

Dr. Segura’s conclusion?  “For Latinos, there will have to be a genuine attempt on the part of the administration and Democrats in Congress to act on immigration.  Even if it fails, an honest effort (and the inevitable, ugly, GOP response) will help close the yawning enthusiasm gap between Latinos of 2010 and Latinos of 2006.  And should it pass, as it ought to, the rewards will be palpable.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Just as the hope of genuine immigration reform motivated Latino voters to vote for Barack Obama and Democrats in 2008, the lack of hope threatens to keep them at home in the pivotal 2010 elections.  Latino voters may hold the keys to the congressional kingdom through their influence in many key swing races, but leadership on immigration reform will be needed to ensure an enthusiastic and mobilized Latino vote in 2010.”

These findings build on recent work published by America’s Voice:

  • December 2009 polling of Latino voters by Bendixen & Amandi found that the vast majority of respondents (78%) said the immigration issue was important to them and that they strongly favored comprehensive immigration reform over deportation-only alternatives.  Why?  It’s an issue that affects loved ones.  Sixty-two percent of respondents reported having an undocumented friend, family member, neighbor, or co-worker. 
  • The Power of the Latino Vote in the 2010 Elections shows that while some pundits assume that Latino voters only matter in areas that are solidly Democratic, the report tracks more than 40 battleground races where these voters will play a key role in 2010 and highlights that nearly one in five Congressional Districts (79 in total, including 54 Democratic seats) is at least 25% Latino. 
  • The New Constituents: How Latinos Will Shape Congressional Apportionment After the 2010 Census demonstrates how Latino residents will shape the results of the 2010 Census.  Latino voters are driving population growth in the states poised to gain representation in Congress, helping to stem further losses in states that are poised to lose seats, and are likely to make a number of seats now held by Republicans more competitive beginning in 2012.

Said Sharry: “The message from Latino voters is becoming clear: if you don’t vote for me, why should I come out to vote for you?”

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.