Republicans face new low, but Dems haven’t capitalized on Latino vote yet

Latinos are becoming increasingly frustrated with the Republican party, following three weeks of data from the Latino Decisions weekly national tracking poll of Latino registered voters, though Democrats have not yet surged ahead in the 2010 congressional vote. 65% of Latinos now say they are less excited about the Republican party as compared to one year ago, up from 60% who were less excited as of August 30th. Further, when it comes to immigration, 74% of Latinos say the Republican party is either ignoring or blocking immigration reform, up from 70% as of August 30th. Despite worsening signs for the GOP among Latino voters, the Democratic party is not yet capitalizing on the important Hispanic electorate. While 65% of Latino voters say they think of themselves as Democrats, just 54% say they will vote Democrat in the 2010 congressional midterm elections.

Immigration Reform and the Latino Vote

One possible reason for the under-performance of Democrats is the lack of follow through on immigration despite promises that comprehensive immigration reform would be passed. Though Republicans fare much worse on enthusiasm, and the issue of immigration, more Latinos are now saying that Democrats are also ignoring or blocking the issue. Today, 59% of Latinos say the Democrats are ignoring or blocking immigration reform, up from 53% who held that view August 30th. One obvious problem is that Democrats promised more than they could deliver with the stimulus bill, health care, and wall street reform on the domestic policy agenda. Though Obama did manage to sign a $600 million border security bill in August 2010. While Obama originally promised an immigration bill during the 2009 calendar year, and then said it would happen in 2010, he eventually backed off those statements as the prospects for bipartisan action on immigration faded. However, Senator Harry Reid continued to make promises while courting Latino voters, saying in April 2010 that the Democrats would pass an immigration reform bill this year.

We asked two questions about vote intention and vote enthusiasm in 2010, and according to the data, whatever enthusiasm gap exists, is most pronounced among those pessimistic about immigration reform. Overall, we find that 63% of Latino registered voters stated that both parties were ignoring or blocking immigration reform, and 25% stated that the Democrats were working to pass reform. Among those 63% who expressed frustration with both parties, 65% said they were certain to vote, with 37% saying they were very enthusiastic about voting. In contrast, among those who believe the Democrats were working to pass immigration reform, 76% said they were certain to vote, with 54% saying they were very enthusiastic. The data clearly point to an enthusiasm gap that is being driven by frustration over the lack of attention to immigration reform.

The Latino Vote in 2010

In week 3 of the Latino Decisions tracking poll we found that 66% of Latinos approve of the job being done by President Obama, roughly the same percent who self-identify as Democrats when asked what their party identification was (65%). However only 54% say they will vote Democrat in the 2010 congressional election, perhaps a byproduct of the finding that just 45% say they are the same or more excited about the Democrats today as they were in January 2009. In contrast, Republican vote intention matches almost exactly their share of party identification – both of which are at record low levels. Overall, 24% of Latinos say they consider themselves Republicans, and 23% say they will vote Republican in the 2010 election.

  • Full results of the Latino Decisions tracking poll are posted here


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