Jobs and immigration: Key issues for Latino Voters

A substantial majority of Latinos support the Obama Health Care Act and government involvement in the provision of health insurance to the population
Jobs and immigration: Key issues for Latino Voters
Voters line up in the rain this morning in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Foto: AP / Danny Johnston

Creating jobs and improving the economy, together with immigration reform and the DREAM Act, are the biggest concerns for Latino voters that politicians should address according to Impremedia – Latino Decisions Election Eve Poll which is being disseminated throughout the day today.

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Job creation and improving the economy were cited as major concern issues for 53% of Latino voters surveyed while the immigration reform and the DREAM Act were also of major concern for 35% of the participants. Also of great importance for the Latino voters were educational reform and schools with 20% and access to health care services cited by 14%.

“The message coming out of this data is that politicians need to get serious about job creation and comprehensive immigration reform because these are the issues Latinos are voting on. They can no longer ignore the immigration issue,” said Matt Barreto, Associate Professor in Political Science at University of Washington, Seattle and co-founder of Latino Decisions.

The Impremedia – Latino Decisions Election Eve Poll was conducted between November 1-5 among 5,600 Latinos who voted early or were completely sure of voting on Election Day. The survey was conducted with a national sample and additional samples in 11 key states, both because of the influence Latino voters have in those states and their relevancy in the outcome of the presidential election and electoral College votes, which determines who will hold the Presidency of the United States for the next four years.

“The Election Eve Poll is unique and is also groundbreaking. We have had to rely on a national exit poll data which is a single source monopoly as the provider of data on voters on Election Day. The problem is that the National Exit Poll has historically had a terrible sample of Latinos,” Barreto said. In contrast, the Election Eve Poll “will provide the most accurate and representative data on Latino voters nationally and in eleven key battleground states.”

Furthermore, issues such as taxes (3%), the prices of gas and energy (2%) or even race relations and discrimination against Latinos (4%) were less important to participating Hispanic voters. Other topics hardly received marginal attention: the war in Afghanistan and against terrorism and foreign policy (1%), global warming and the environment (1%) and housing and mortgages (1%).

The Election Poll Eve “is telling us what the Latino community agenda is: what are the issues we care about, what action we want our government to take, what public policies we support. We know which issues Latinos want to see the Congress address,” Barreto said.

In the issue of the economy, Latino voters were asked about the various solutions proposed by politicians to reduce the current $1.4 trillion budget deficit. Most of them (42%) indicated that they preferred a mix of tax increases combined with cuts in public expenditure, while a high proportion (35%) was also in favor of higher taxes on the rich.

Both positions are consistent with the policies proposed by President Barack Obama during the campaign. Much less supported by Latino voters was the proposal to only reduce public spending, a scheme favored by Republicans, which received only 12% of the mentions.

On the issue of access to health care, a significant majority or 61%, felt that the Affordable Health Care Act, promoted by the Obama administration and defended in this campaign by the President and the Democratic Party, should remain in force, while only 25% felt it should be revoked, a position that matches the political platform of Mitt Romney and the Republican Party.

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Finally, on a topic that touches emphatically the controversy over the scope of federal government’s involvement in public life and the provision of services, 66% of Latino voters surveyed by Impremedia and Latino Decisions believes the federal government should play a role to ensure that everyone has access to health insurance, a position that is compatible with the plan supported by Obama and the Democrats. In contrast, 25%, a lower but not insignificant figure, considers that people should be responsible for getting their own insurance, a position that coincides with the position held by Romney and the Republicans.

Latino Decisions completed 5,600 interviews with Latinos who have already voted, or were certain to vote in the November 6, 2012 presidential election. Interviews were conducted via telephone with live callers, all of whom were bilingual, and interviews were completed in the language of preference of the respondent. Overall, 62% of interviews were completed in English and 38% in Spanish.

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.