Latino poll shows ethnic solidarity, GOP opportunities

A detailed poll of Latino voters indicates support for strict border control coexisting with high solidarity for fellow Latinos who illegally overcome those curbs.

The poll also shows a series of income and regional splits among Latinos that offer GOP candidates some opportunity to boost their minority share of the Democratic-leaning Latino vote.

Those splits shows that tougher border policies are more likely to be favored by Latinos outside California, by those with incomes greater than $50,000 or with a college degree, and by those who speak English and are more integrated into American society.

The poll of 800 Latinos — including 470 registered voters — was conducted in June by John McLaughlin, who has run other polls for the advocates of large-scale immigration.

The survey will be used by the two main GOP factions in the high-stakes immigration debate.

The primary faction is the business wing, which argues that a large influx of Latino will spur the economy and can weaken Latino support for Democratic giveaways, such as more immigration and more government aid. This faction supports the Senate bill, which could double immigration up to 46 million during the next two decades.

The poll provided some evidence to support this claim.

“When asked what single issue or action that Republicans could do would be most important and persuade them to vote for a Republican member of Congress the leading responses were: immigration 21%, economy 11%, help Hispanics 6%, health care 5% and stop discrimination 4%,” said the poll.

The populist faction, however, argues that the GOP can’t increase its share of the Latino vote — or the declining turnout by the much large population of native-born Americans — until it slows immigration to better integrate recent immigrants into American society via education, the workplace and marriage, plus more use of the English language.

“When asked if they think that ‘the Republican Party cares about people like you,’ only one in four Hispanic adults, 27%, said yes [and] six in ten, 61%, said no,” said the poll.

The poll showed Latinos’ near-universal support for immigrants.

Eight-five percent of all respondents said they support “granting legal status to undocumented immigrants who live here.”

But this promise of support for fellow Latinos was contradicted by the respondents’ very strong opposition to the next wave of illegal Latino immigrants, who tend to be lower-skilled and may drag down wages for Latinos living in the United States.