August 10, 2010. America’s Voice
Three recent polls of Latino voters show how the current immigration debate—including the national attention to Arizona’s anti-immigrant law—has dramatically influenced Latino voters’ view of political candidates, as well as their propensity to vote in November.
The polls, conducted by LatinoMetrics for the Hispanic Federation and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); Dr. Ricardo Ramirez of the University of Southern California for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund (NALEO); and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago for Associated Press-Univision, find that the immigration debate and the controversial Arizona law are having a mobilizing effect on Latino voters. These polls provide further proof that railing against undocumented immigrants has a profound negative impact on the way legal, voting American citizens of Latino heritage view the two parties.
The story of the November 2010 election is still to be written, and there are tremendous cross-currents at play that will impact the races. While the lack of action on comprehensive immigration reform could contribute to Latino voter apathy this cycle, the polls make it clear that the combination of national attention to Arizona’s anti-immigration law and the way many Republicans have wholeheartedly embraced an anti-immigrant agenda could energize Latinos to remain active this year.
Immigration Now Top Concern for Latinos: The LatinoMetrics poll on behalf of the Hispanic Federation and LULAC found that, “since the end of 2009, immigration has catapulted to the top issue of personal concern among 1 in 4 Latinos—tied with jobs & the economy.” The poll by Dr. Ramirez for NALEO Education Fund found similar results, with immigration being the number one response to the question, “what general issues would be most important to you in deciding whom to vote for?” In previous polls, immigration had ranked below education and the economy as the community’s most pressing concern.
Latino Feel Under Siege Because of Immigration Debate: When asked, “What do you think is the real issue at the heart of the Immigration Reform debate?” and recent measures to crack down on illegal immigration in the Latino Metrics poll, the most popular reason respondents gave was, “racism and prejudice against Latinos.” In the poll by Dr. Ramirez, 89% of respondents said Latinos were facing more challenges than other groups in the U.S. According to Arturo Vargas, NALEO’s Executive Director, “Latinos are feeling less optimistic and more under siege.”
Immigration – and Arizona’s SB1070 – are Driving Voting Energies and Preferences: LatinoMetrics found that 8 in 10 Latinos disapprove of SB 1070, 7 in 10 disapprove of the law strongly; and only 13% approve of it. While Dr. Ramirez’s poll didn’t ask specifically about SB1070, it found that 57% of Latinos in California, Colorado, Florida, and Texas said that “the current immigration debate,” presumably including the controversy over the Arizona law, made them more likely to vote this November.
Latinos Are Getting Motivated to Vote: LatinoMetrics found that 6 in 10 respondents are registered to vote while 24% of those who aren’t currently registered were intending to do so before the November 2010 elections. In total, 8 in 10 of those registered or planning to register intend to vote this year. Dr. Ramirez’s poll found that 70% of Latino voters were likely to vote and an additional 8% said it was possible.
By America’s Voice