While the Republican establishment, Democrats, and the mainstream press repeatedly say Republicans have to pass amnesty legislation to appeal to Hispanics, a majority of Hispanics believe a candidate’s position on immigration is not a deal-breaker.
An extensive Pew Research Hispanic survey found that 54% of Hispanic registered voters said they would vote for a candidate who disagrees with them on immigration “if that candidate shares their views on most other issues.” A majority of Hispanics were for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but, consistent with other surveys of the Hispanic electorate, immigration was not the top concern for Hispanic voters. Education, jobs and the economy, and health care were issues that Hispanic voters were more concerned with than immigration.
The survey also found that while “65% of Latino registered voters backed the Democrat in their congressional district and 22% favored the Republican candidate” in 2010, only “57% of Latino registered voters support the Democratic candidate in their congressional district or lean Democratic, while 28% favor the Republican candidate or lean Republican” this year.
The number of Latinos who identify as Democrats is also down. The survey found that “63% today say they identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, down from 70% who said the same in 2012.” Pew Hispanic Research noted that “Republicans have made some progress among Hispanic voters” since 2012–“about one-quarter (27%) today say they identify with or lean toward the Republican Party. In 2012, 22% said the same.”
Many recent polls and studies have gone against the Beltway’s conventional knowledge about Hispanic voters. An ABC News poll found that Hispanics this year prefer a GOP Congress, and two recent studies have shown that Republicans can win elections in 2014 and in the future without pandering to Hispanics with amnesty legislation.
The Pew poll, conducted from Sept. 11 through Oct. 9, “was fielded after President Obama’s decision to delay any executive action” until after the midterms.