Throughout the country, Latino voters have broadly convergent views on the vast majority of political, economic and social issues that matter to the Hispanic community, although there are variations according to geographical or demographic criteria, as the ImpreMedia – Latino Decisions Election Eve Poll found. This comprehensive survey is being released throughout the day today in Impremedia websites and publications.
Job creation and the economy as well as immigration and the DREAM Act are the most important issues for Latino voters according to the survey, although there were some variations based on the state of residence and other demographic characteristics of the participants.
For example, nationally 53% of respondents pointed to the creation of jobs and the economy as their top concerns, a figure that is higher for Latino voters in Florida and Texas (57% each), New Mexico (55%), and Nevada and Ohio (54% each). North Carolina (46%), Arizona (47%) and California (48%) were slightly lower.
There are also variations according to the national origin of respondents. For example, the economy is crucial for 74% of voters of Cuban descent, but comes in at 50% for Mexicans and Dominicans, for 51% of Central Americans and 55% of Puerto Ricans. Differences also appear depending on a person's gender, with 59% of men and 48% of women considering it of first importance.
A similar situation exists on the issue of immigration. Nationally, 35% of the Latino voters surveyed consider this issue as a priority but comes in lower at 24% for Puerto Ricans (who are US citizens by birth) and 31% in the case of Cubans. In contrast, 46% of Central Americans, 41% of South Americans, 37% of Dominicans and 36% of Mexican include immigration among their major concerns.
"The figures are quite similar to those we have seen in the last year. They confirm the dynamics we have experienced. The immigration issue has been broadly debated and indeed, negatively. This was the main issue in states like Arizona and North Carolina, among others. The positions taken have hurt many undocumented immigrants, because many have a friend, acquaintance or relative who is the subject of some immigration situation. Empathy plays a very important role. Not only the immigration issue has had an impact, but also the economic one. Hispanics have been particularly hard hit in states like Florida and Nevada, especially because of the lack of jobs and foreclosures," said Maribel Hastings, Senior Advisor of America's Voice.
The Election Eve Poll also shows how age of voters impacts their view of the issues. Employment is crucial for 58% of Latino voters between 31 and 44 years old and 57% for those between 44 and 65 years old. The figure drops to 52% for those older than 66 and 42% for those between 18 and 30 years old. Immigration and the DREAM Act in turn, is of prime importance for 40% of Latino voters between 18 and 30, but only for 29% of those over 66 years of age.
When referring to the immigration issue, Hastings mentioned the importance of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an executive order signed by President Barack Obama a few months ago that benefits thousands of undocumented youth. "When President Obama left aside the issue of immigration we saw how support figures started to decline. Then the pressure of youth, many of them dreamers, started to go up and resulted in this measure. With the executive order from President Obama, we saw how support started to rise. We see a clear difference between the position of Obama and Mitt Romney, who never spoke of permanent solutions but only of self-deportation" she said.
The Impremedia - Latino Decisions Election Eve Poll was conducted between November 1-5 with 5,600 Latinos who exercised their early voting right or were completely sure of going to vote on Election Day. It was conducted with a national sample and additional samples in 11 key states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New México, Nevada, Ohio, Texas and Virginia.