NEW POLL: Latino Voters on Midterm Elections, Immigration, and 2016 Presidential Contenders
Washington, DC, October 24, 2014: On a recent press call, Matt Barreto, co-founder of Latino Decisions, and Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, discussed the results of a new nationwide poll of 600 Latino voters that provided fresh data on overall Latino voter enthusiasm; party preference in Congressional and Senate races; and how the politics of immigration are influencing Latinos’ perceptions of both parties and potential presidential contenders heading into 2016 and beyond.
The poll was conducted by Latino Decisions and commissioned by America’s Voice. Among some of the highlights:
- Latino Voters Are Turning Out to Support the Latino Community in 2014: When asked which statement they most agree with, a plurality of Latinos—46%—said they were voting in 2014 to support and represent the Latino community; 28% said they were voting to support the Democratic candidate; 16% said they were voting to support the Republican candidate; and 10% said other or “don’t know.”
- Latino Voters are Frustrated with the President and Angry with the GOP. After learning about the record number of deportations under President Obama, 56% of Latino voters said they were less enthusiastic about Obama and what he has accomplished. Twenty percent said it made them more enthusiastic and 24% said it had “no effect.” After learning that House Republicans never allowed the Senate immigration bill to come up for a vote, a full 58% of voters said that this made them less likely to vote GOP, while 24% said it made them more likely to vote GOP. Eighteen percent said it had “no effect.”
- Republicans are Facing Major 2016 Problem: Fifty-five percent of Latinos said that they’d vote for the Democratic candidate if the 2016 Presidential election were held today. Twenty-five percent said they were undecided, and 20% said they’d vote for the Republican candidate--well short of the 40% threshold needed for either party to be competitive in a general election.
- Democrats Cannot take Latinos for Granted: Thinking about the Democratic Party, a majority of Latinos—53%--said the Democratic Party expects Latinos to vote for them but is unwilling to take political risks or take a stand on behalf of immigrants. Twenty-eight percent said the Democratic Party is truly committed to immigrant rights and treats the Latino community like a priority; eleven percent said “neither of these” or “something else”; and seven percent said “don’t know.”
Said Barreto: “We’re seeing record high levels of frustration with both parties from Latinos, and we know a lot of that has to do with the lack of progress on immigration. For Latinos, this issue is even more important than it is to the general electorate—a clear majority of Latinos know an undocumented immigrant. For them, immigration is deeply personal and symbolic. Both parties stand to lose serious support if they continue to take the Latino vote for granted. There’s clear signals of that happening in 2014 and even stronger signals for that in 2016.”
Added Sharry, “With Republicans lurching right and all but dead to 80% of Latino voters, the main question as we head out of 2014 and toward a 2016 map that is far more immigrant-friendly is whether we are going to see good Democrats or bad Democrats. Will we have good Democrats that keep their promises and lean into immigration reform that benefits the Latino community? Or will we have bad Democrats that talk like Republicans and fear backlash from the right? There’s a lot to gain for Democrats if they support things like executive action and a pathway to citizenship, but there’s a fair bit to lose if they don’t.”
Editor’s Note: Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice on Twitter: @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice