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.
THE NATIONAL DEFICIT
In contrast, the proposal to apply a mixture of tax increases and government spending cuts (42% nationally) had greater acceptance among Latino voter respondents in Texas (50%) and Virginia (46%) and least favored in California and Ohio (35% each), New Mexico (38%) and Colorado (39%). The idea of just addressing the deficit through spending cuts advocated by Republicans was favored by 12% nationally, 15% in Nevada and Texas, 14% in Arizona and Florida, but only by 11% in Colorado, Virginia and North Carolina.
Also interesting is the difference between men and women on whether to keep this current health care law. While both sexes support its permanence, this figure is 64% among Latino male voters and 58% among Latino female voters. Meanwhile, 27% of the Latino women voters surveyed believe that the law should be abolished, a position supported by 23% of Latino men. However, 66% of the Catholic Latino voters surveyed support the act while only 21% prefer its annulment.
IMPREMEDIA / LATINO DECISIONS ELECTION EVE POLL METHODOLOGY
Respondents were reached on landline and cell phone-only households, from November 1-5, 2012 and averaged 12 minutes in length. Voters were pre-screened based on their vote history in previous presidential elections, and date of registration to include a mix of new registrants and first-time voters. Respondents were asked if they had already voted early, and if not, if they were 100% certain they would vote on November 6th. Any respondent who was not certain was terminated. For 11 individual states, a minimum of 400 interviews were completed to provide state-specific reliable estimates. For the remaining 39 states and the District of Columbia an additional national sample was completed, and then combined with the 11 stand-alone state samples for an overall combined nationally proportionate sample.
The national sample of 5,600 is directly proportionate to the Latino voter population nationwide, and is weighted to reflect the known Census demographics for Latino voters. The national sample carries an overall margin of error of 1.8%. California and Florida each had 800 completed interviews and carry a margin of error of 3.5%. The remaining 9 individual states sampled: AZ, CO, MA, NC, NM, NV, OH, TX, VA all had 400 completed interviews and carry a margin of error of 4.9%. Interviewing was administered and overseen by Pacific Market Research.