Poll: Immigration tops jobs as number one issue for Latino voters

Immigration has surpassed jobs to become the number one issue concerning Latino voters, according to a poll by leading non-profit Latino organization.

Surprisingly, immigration was not the top issue for Hispanic voters at the outset of the Obama administration, according to a similar poll by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center released in January 2009. In that poll, the economy was far and away the leading issue concerning Hispanics, with twice as many responding that it was “extremely important” as responded that way to immigration.

But the mood among Latino voters has shifted markedly since then, largely due to the Arizona immigration law, which goes into effect next week.

A poll released Tuesday by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund shows that immigration is the top issue for Latino voters in California, Colorado, Florida and Texas.

27 percent of those surveyed cited immigration as the most important issue in deciding whom to vote for in the November midterm elections. Unemployment followed with 15 percent, and 14 percent chose not to pick an issue.

“What is so striking to me in my many years of looking at polling, is that this is the first time that immigration is the number one issue among Latino voters,” said María Cardona, a Democratic strategist. “That, to me, was just stunning.

Despite strong words of intent from the administration and some congressional Democrats about passing a federal immigration bill, Congress appears to have other more pressing priorities. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told POLITICO that he hopes to begin debate on an energy bill next week, leaving little time before the August recess to get anything substantial done on immigration.

“Democrats would rather have this as a political issue in November rather than a legislative issue right now,” said Leslie Sánchez, former spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. “I think the most positive aspects of immigration reform, bipartisan reform, will happen in 2011.”

The potential that Democrats would use the lame duck session after the midterm elections to pass an immigration bill seems unlikely, and immigration activists are already bracing for the reality that they likely will not have a bill in 2010.

According to the poll, Latino voters give Congress higher marks than the majority of American citizens, with just under 41 percent approving of the job Congress is doing. 65 percent approve of President Obama.

“We are frustrated with Congress, as all Americans are frustrated with Congress,” Sánchez said. “In that sense, we are not special. We are very mainstream, we are American.”

If no bill is passed in 2010, experts expect the issue to escalate – not fade away – in 2011.

“If it doesn’t happen in 2010, I think it will absolutely escalate in 2011,” Cardona said.

The poll surveyed 1,600 Latino registered voters in California, Colorado, Florida and Texas, states that contain 60 percent of the Latino population in the United States.

The poll also shows Senate candidates Gov. Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio in a dead heat among Latino voters in Florida.

Crist, formerly a Republican but now an independent, is tied with Rubio, a Republican, at 35 percent. Rep. Kendrick Meek, a Democratic Congressman representing Miami, gathers 17 percent.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WZUZF5HHPU4SK3PMQB4ZVIAOJE Apple Sauce

    This is because about half of Hispanics are illegals or anchors.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t care.

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  • nosocialism

    Uhmmmm….the top issue for Latino voters in California

    How many of these so-called voters are members of “La Raza” which is a group that wants to turn America into Northern Mexico. So they want to pull down America so that it will be just like what they are fleeing….Makes sense to me!

  • Confedd

    A pole of illegal immigrants? Did they ask if they were legal? This country is getting to be so lame…. How about a pole a Americans, We got Black this Latino that Arabic this Mexican that and nothing American…

  • ojfl

    This does not make sense. The Latinos who can already vote should be more concerned about having a job, as most of us do, including us non-Hispanic immigrants, than immigration reform. To me the most important part is securing the border. After that it should be much easier to deal with the immigrants already in the country.

  • american10

    THE IMMIGRANTS FLED CORRUPT GOVERNMENT CONTROL, WHAT DID THEY RUN TO? ……….CORRUPT GOVERNMENT IN AMERICA, their new home? Obama is best friends with the tyrant they thought they left behind!!!! Little did they know, there is no where to run!! Corruption, the elite few are uniting to have dominion over the entire (Human population of)earth!!!!

  • middleageinva

    Can someone PLEASE tell us if the immigration issue as the top of the concerns of Latinos is from Latinos that are actually 1) registered to vote and 2) ONLY those verifiable to vote?

    Can someone PLEASE tell me if the question put to legal immigrants (who I am going to assume ARE the only people on the pol) is whether or not they think that people should be allowed in illegally, permitted to stay, and/or deserve to go ahead of those like themselves that came here legally?

    Why is it that “immigration” as a top issue is never assumed to be anything but that every Latino agrees that illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay and/or that there should be no solid border?

    Aren’t we doing GRAVE disservice to legal Latino immigrants in this country? Latino’s are probably discrimintaed against because they aren’t actually assumed to believe that others should get in line like they did! Let’s test the theory with a REAL poll

    What if it is like Blacks that aren’t allowed to be conservative or Republican without death threats are severe isolation from their community of African-Americans? Perhaps they can’t speak up. Isn’t there ANY Latinos that don’t want to have illegal immigrants here because they have become such a hot button that it makes it difficult for THEM to get jobs and be treated fairly?

  • blueridge

    It is time to stop pandering to the Latino voters. If they don’t want our laws followed then they are not really Americans first. Can any of us imagine what a hell hole Texas would be if that state was a part of Mexico instead of the US.