New Latino Voter Poll: What California Republicans Do on Immigration Matters

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WASHINGTON – Today, Latino Decisions and America’s Voice released the results of a new poll of Latino voters in 24 Republican-held battleground districts, including California. The poll probed how immigration reform and the two parties’ handling of it in the House could impact key 2014 races.

“In these 24 House districts, which are competitive, where the Latino populations are growing, where the margins of victory are small, there is in fact a potential loss for Republicans at the House level if they fail to act. And half-measures are not going to work, like DREAM-lite, or no citizenship or second-class status, those things are not going to solve the problem,” said Gary Segura, Professor of American Politics and Chair of Chicano/a Studies at Stanford University and Principal at Latino Decisions.

The poll of 800 Latino voters in 24 Republican-held battleground districts found that the Republican Party has a real opportunity to expand its reach with Latino voters, but only it moves past ugly rhetoric, half-measures, and excuses into engaging on real, comprehensive immigration reform.

Among some of the poll’s highlights:

* Immigration continues to be the most important issue that Latino voters want the president and Congress to address.

* Latino voters in these battleground districts are watching the immigration debate closely. 86% of midterm voters and 80% of Latinos overall have read or heard about immigration reform in the news.

* In these districts, Republicans’ approval on immigration is at a deep low. Right now, 70% of Latino midterm voters in these battleground districts disapprove of the job Republicans in Congress are doing handling immigration policy, while only 20% approve.

* Ugly rhetoric does further damage to the GOP brand. Two-thirds of Latino voters know someone who is undocumented.

* Many Latino voters are willing to give Republicans a second chance if they set aside excuses and schedule a vote on immigration reform with a path to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans.

Among midterm Latino voters in these 24 districts:

-- 62% have voted Republican at some point in their lives

-- 50% would be more likely to support a GOP House candidate in their district if they take a leadership role in passing immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, even if they disagree on other issues

-- 62% would feel more favorable towards Republicans in Congress if Speaker Boehner allows a bipartisan vote immigration reform.

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