Among the rash of recent polling on immigration are three key storylines:
78% of Americans back citizenship for undocumented immigrants in new Post/ABC Poll: The new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that Americans overwhelmingly support citizenship instead of deportation for undocumented immigrants. As the accompanying poll summary notes, “78 percent of voters … prefer offering undocumented immigrants who pass background checks a path to citizenship, which is Clinton’s position … Among Trump’s supporters … 62 percent say they prefer a path to citizenship over deportation.” Americans’ overwhelming support for citizenship is also seen in a CNN poll released last week, which found that by an 88%-11% margin, Americans support, rather than oppose, a path to citizenship. The CNN poll also found that, when asked what our country’s top priority for immigration policy should be, 51% of the public said legalization for undocumented immigrants, while only 11% said deportation. In July, a Gallup poll similarly found that 84% of Americans (91% of Democrats, 85% of Independents, and 76% of Republicans) support a path to citizenship
Latino Decisions’ National and Battleground State Polling: Donald Trump is on track for an historically low performance among Latino voters: Latino Decisions’ recent massive sample nationwide poll of Latino voters finds that Hillary Clinton is beating Donald Trump 70%-19% (and by a slightly larger, 72%-17% margin in an online poll conducted to gauge Latinos’ reactions to Trump’s immigration speech). As Greg Sargent wrote in the Washington Post, the national presidential head-to-head margin is, “better than Barack Obama was faring among Latinos at the same point in 2012, when Latino Decisions polling found him beating Mitt Romney by 65-26.” Additionally, in the seven battleground states polled by Latino Decisions, Clinton leads Trump by the following margins among Latino voters: 70%-18% in Arizona; 72%-17% in Colorado; 62%-27% in Florida; 70%-14% in Nevada; 73%-14% in North Carolina; 61%-22% in Ohio; and 67%-19% in Virginia. This puts Trump on track to underperform Mitt Romney’s historically poor performance among Latino voters in 2012, when Latinos supported President Obama by a75%-23% margin over Romney, according to Latino Decisions 2012 Election Eve polling (71%-27% in media-sponsored exit polls).
Democrats may be “leaving Latino votes on the table” in large part because of failing to define themselves on immigration – especially in key 2016 Senate contests: As NBC News noted of the new Latino polling, Trump “is a drag on other Republican races in swing states, but that Democrats are not making the most of it because they are leaving Latino votes on the table … [the statewide Latino Decisions polling] also found that Latinos were less likely to vote for their Republican Senate candidate if they knew that the candidate was supporting Trump. But many Latino voters were unaware of where either candidate stood on immigration or Trump. Advocates called this a missed opportunity because enthusiasm and interest was reported to be high largely because of the attention brought on by the media on Trump.” In the six battleground states polled that feature a 2016 Senate race:
AZ: Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick leads Republican Senator John McCain 57%-31%; 76% of Latino voters don’t know Ann Kirkpatrick’s position on reform with a path to citizenship and executive actions; 61% don’t know John McCain’s.
CO: Democratic Senator Michael Bennett leads Republican Darryl Glenn 72%-17%; 69% of Latino voters don’t know Michael Bennet’s position on reform with a path to citizenship and executive actions; 65% don’t know Darryl Glenn’s.
FL: Democrat Patrick Murphy leads Republican Senator Marco Rubio 47%-43%; 63% of Latino voters don’t know Patrick Murphy’s position on reform with a path to citizenship and executive actions; 47% don’t know Marco Rubio’s.
NV: Democrat Catherine Cortez-Masto leads Republican Joe Heck 61%-22%; 64% of Latino voters don’t know Catherine Cortez-Masto’s position on reform with a path to citizenship and executive actions; 65% don’t know Joe Heck’s.
NC: Democrat Deborah Ross leads Republican Senator Richard Burr 58%-24%; 76% of Latino voters don’t know Deborah Ross’s position on reform with a path to citizenship and executive actions; 71% don’t know Richard Burr’s.
OH: Democrat Ted Strickland leads Republican Senator Rob Portman 50%-32%; 65% of Latino voters don’t know Ted Strickland’s position on reform with a path to citizenship and executive actions; 62% don’t know Rob Portman’s.
According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, “It is clear that the American people are light-years ahead of the GOP on immigration. And it is also clear that the GOP is falling off a demographic cliff with Latino voters, as Trump leads them to their lowest vote count ever among Latinos and immigrants. Yet Democrats cannot rely on the “Trump Effect” alone. If they run strong campaigns that embrace common sense immigration reform, they’ll attract Americans of all backgrounds who are tired of the blame game and looking for solutions.”