Latino voters see US immigration reform as key issue

A national poll carried out on America’s Latino population reveals that support for comprehensive immigration reform will be the most important factor in swaying who they vote for at the next election.

US Voters

US Voters

President Barack Obama’s re-election last year was largely secured on the back of overwhelming support from America’s Hispanic population – an outcome which persuaded the Republican Party to agree to talks on immigration reform.

While new immigration legislation, drawn up by both Republican and Democratic Senators, is due to be debated in the Senate next week, the Republican controlled House of Representatives has already insinuated that they are unlikely to pass the reform in its current guise.

However, failure for Republicans to come to an agreement on immigration reform could have dire consequences for their party’s chances of success at the next election, the new poll suggests.

The poll found that as many as 45 per cent of those surveyed would be prepared to vote Republican if the party was to take a leading role on immigration reform. However, just 26 per cent of those polled hold a favourable view of the way the Republican Party has handled the immigration debate so far.

Seventy eight per cent of Latino voters say it is very or extremely important for Congress to approve a path to citizenship this year, while 73 per cent say it is important to enact immigration reform this year.

“There’s a huge potential to move and sway the Latino vote based on this issue,” says Matt Barreto, a political science professor at the University of Washington and co-founder of Latino Decisions, which conducted the poll.