New polling of Latino voters conducted by Latino Decisions for the Center for American Progress Action Fund finds Latino voters unequivocally want immigration reform to happen before the 2014 midterm elections. VIEW TOPLINES HERE, and SLIDE DECK HERE.
With 49 percent of Latino voters indicating they have voted for Republican candidates in the past, there is ample evidence that the GOP can win back support from Hispanic voters if House Republicans move the ball forward on immigration reform.
Five compelling findings from the survey (highlighted below) all point to the stark reality that the House Republican leadership now faces: pass immigration reform and have a shot at gaining ground with Latinos, or say goodbye to their votes.
1. Latino voters are expecting an immigration reform bill this year.
Seventy-one percent of Latino voters say it is very important or extremely important for Congress to pass immigration reform before the 2014 election. With an additional 18 percent of Latino voters saying it is somewhat important for Congress to pass the legislation this year, the poll found a total of 89 percent of Latino voters expecting action on reform this year.
2. The Republican brand will be further tarnished among Latino voters if the GOP fails to move immigration reform forward.
Seventy-four percent of Latino voters say they would feel much or somewhat less favorable to Republicans in Congress if House Speaker Boehner (R-OH) fails to move an immigration reform bill to a vote on the House floor. Sixty-eight percent of Latinos who have voted Republican in a past election say they would feel less favorable to Republicans under these circumstances.
3. Republicans could make important inroads with Latino voters this year if they move immigration forward.
If Speaker Boehner allowed an immigration reform bill to move forward for a vote this year, 53 percent of Latino voters say they would feel more favorable toward Republicans in Congress.
4. Immigration reform is a gateway issue for Latino voters.
Sixty-one percent of Latino voters say they would feel more favorable toward the GOP and would be willing to hear the party out on other issues if party members passed an immigration reform bill that includes a path to citizenship. Meanwhile, only one in four Latino voters say they would still oppose the GOP regardless of any movement on reform this year.
5. If immigration reform does not happen this year, Republicans will face the most blame among Latino voters.
By an almost 3-to-1 margin, Latino voters say will blame the GOP if immigration reform doesn’t happen: 49 percent of Latino voters say they will blame Republicans if immigration reform does not pass in 2014, as compared to the 16 percent who would blame Democrats.
It’s now or never for Republicans and immigration reform. Immigration is a gateway issue for Latino voters and Republicans have a chance to demonstrate leadership on this issue. If Speaker Boehner prevents a vote on immigration reform, the poll suggests the GOP will do even worse in 2014 and 2016 than the low for Gov. Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.