Latino Perspectives on SOTU Issues

A number of issues addressed in tonight’s State of the Union have been the subject of Latino Decisions polling. Here we highlight a few:

1. Immigration. It is true that Latino voters hold varied opinions on a range of policy issues, but not when it comes to immigration. On this topic, views are consistently cohesive; Latinos of all origins, party affiliations, and other demographic traits share a preferences.


When it comes to the most recent executive actions announced in November 2014, Latino voters overwhelmingly (including 76% of Republicans) support the policy, and 80% oppose efforts to cut funding in order to block the policy change. As we have always noted, these positions are firmly held in large part due to the fact that the majority of Latino voters (58%), have family or friends who are undocumented immigrants.

2. Cuba Policy. Opinions on Cuba have been evolving for some time now for the American electorate, and this is true among Latinos too. Focusing specifically on Florida, we find 44% of all Latino voters in the state support replacing the embargo with a policy that continues to pressure Cuban government over human rights but increases engagement between Americans and the Cuban people.

Embargo Fig 1

Among Cuban-Americans that share drops to 39%. The fact that less than 50% of Latinos in Florida (including Cuban-Americans) today do not support keeping the embargo in place is a striking point indeed.

3. Economic Issues. Our most recent National Election Eve Poll finds 70% of Latino voters favor tax increases on the wealthy, combined with spending cuts to reduce the deficit — consistent with proposals the President outlined this evening. Importantly, our 2012 survey found 51% of Latino Republicans supported higher taxes on the wealthy; only 35%  preferred a cuts-only approach.


Economic security remains fragile for many Latino voters. In July an NCLR/LD poll found 53% worried someone in their home would lose their job, and fully half 50% worried they would not earn enough to cover basic expenses.

4. Education. While Latino families have very high hopes for their children, and aspire for them to become college graduates, many fear they cannot afford it. In fact, few believe that they have the resources to pay for a college education


Only 18% of Latino parents were very confident they could pay for their child’s college education. A significant share, 40% were not confident (with 20% not at all confident) they could afford these costs. Thus, it is likely that the President’s proposal to make community college as widely accessible as possible will be met with substantial support from this constituency.

5. Climate Change. There is no question that Latino voters believe climate change is a national priority, and one that requires lawmakers to take action.


Diverse segments of the Latino electorate agree that it is extremely or very important that the issue is addressed. This past November, 70% of Latino midterm voters said that it is important for government to reduce carbon pollution that causes climate change. There is demonstrated support (84%) for stronger EPA standards to advance clean air goals, and policy that preserves land and other natural resources.