11:36 AM Eastern - Friday, May 14, 2010

Arizona Polling Round Up

Recent public opinion polling on SB1070 underscores the growing frustration of American voters who want the federal government to pass smart, workable immigration solutions that move our nation forward.

Today, SEIU and NCLR released new polling on Arizona Latinos voters' overwhelming opposition to SB 1070 and the resulting electoral implications.

Key takeaway:

"As Latino voters in Arizona and other battleground states play an increasingly decisive role in federal and state elections, it behooves candidates from both parties to stand up and offer smart, comprehensive immigration solutions."

Check out the polling memo:

TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
RE: Arizona Latino and Non-Latino Voters' Views on SB 1070 and Electoral Implications; Broader National Polling Shows Urgency Greater than Ever for Immigration Fix
DATE: May 14, 1010

Recent public opinion polling in the wake of Arizona passing SB 1070, "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act," confirms what we have known for a long time. American voters--Latinos and non Latinos--are angry and increasingly fed up with Congress' continued failure to fix our broken immigration system. In the absence of a workable, practical fix by Congress, voters want action.

On the issue of enforcement-only action, such as Arizona state law SB 1070, the Latino electorate is more discerning than the general electorate, differing in ways that will have a significant impact on elections in 2010 and beyond. Latino voters' widespread opposition to SB 1070 shows that frivolous state laws galvanize Latino voters to move away from the Republican Party and other candidates who push draconian, enforcement-only legislation. As Latino voters in Arizona and other battleground states play an increasingly decisive role in federal and state elections, it behooves candidates from both parties to stand up and offer smart, comprehensive immigration solutions.

Methodology for Latino Decisions Statewide Poll of Arizona Latino Voters

  • Primary aim was to understand Latino views on Arizona immigration law, 1070
  • Also included questions national immigration reform and political parties
  • n=402, margin of error +/- 4.9
  • Field dates, April 30 - May 5, 2010
  • Partnered with Latino politics faculty at Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University

Survey of Arizona Latino Voters Post SB 1070

Methodology for Grove Insight Statewide Poll of all Arizona Voters with Latino Over Sample:

  • Primary aim was to understand Arizona voters' views on SB 1070
  • n=600 registered voters, 500 voters as a whole, plus an over sample of 100 Latino voters
  • Margin of error +/- 4 percentage points
  • Interviews were conducted May 13-19, 2010.

Perceptions of Immigration in Arizona

Key poll findings in the extended entry (after the break).

1. Democrats and Republicans Control Their Own Fate with Latino Voters

Among Latino voters in Arizona, there are real political costs for passage of draconian, anti-immigrant legislation like SB1070. The law, which is seen as a personal attack against all Latinos, has ignited Arizona Latino voters' frustration with federal inaction on immigration reform and galvanized them to move away from candidates--particularly Republicans--who play politics with the issue.

Latino voters are increasingly frustrated with both parties' failure to lead on immigration reform. Leadership on the issue is essential for Democrats if they want to nurture the support they gained from Latinos in 2008. And leadership is crucial for Republicans if they want to address and move the issue off the table so they can start repairing their relationship with this critical electorate.

In contrast to Anglo voters, Arizona Latino voters see SB 1070 as personally threatening:

  • A whopping 81 percent of Arizona Latino voters oppose SB1070.
  • Even among 4th generation Latinos, more than 2/3 of Latino voters oppose SB1070.
  • Over 85 percent of Latino voters believe that legal immigrants will be profiled and stopped or questioned by the police following SB1070's implementation.

2. SB 1070 Has Ignited Latino Voters' Frustration Over Both Democrats and Republicans' Failure to Move Immigration

As a result of the law's passage, the issue of immigration has jumped to the number one issue for Latino voters, where it was only the third most important issue prior. In fact, 59 percent of Latino voters believe immigration reform is the most important issue that President Obama and Congress should address over the next year, up from just 36% percent before the bill was signed into law (based on a Benenson poll conducted on 400 Arizona Latino voters in early April.)

The polling also shows a tremendous opportunity for candidates to galvanize Latino voters' support if they present a workable and practical immigration solution and make it a key priority on the campaign trail. As it stands, only 36 percent of Latino voters believe that Democrats are working to pass immigration reform, down from 46 percent who thought Democrats were working to pass a bill in April. Likewise, just 21 percent of Latino voters think Republicans are working to pass legislation, which is down from 28 percent in April.

As a growing number of Republican state legislators introduce SB1070 copycat legislation nationwide, Republicans further paint themselves as the party of intolerance and anti-immigrant, anti-Latino sentiment. If this continues, it will galvanize Latino voters nationwide to move away from the Republican Party.

3. Support for Arizona's SB 1070 among Anglo and other non-Latino voters reflects growing frustration over the federal government's continued failure to act.

While 60 percent of Arizona voters express support for SB1070, a whopping 73 percent also support federal reform that includes both enforcement and a path to citizenship. Asking about support for SB1070 without also asking about comprehensive immigration reform fails to reveal voters' underlying motivations. As a result, the vast majority of polling data on SB1070 belies what public opinion research has repeatedly shown: that a majority of Americans--across regions and party lines--believe a federal overhaul of our broken immigration system that includes a path to legalization is the only way to end illegal immigration and move our country forward.

Recent SB 1070 Polling in Context

The widely reported April 27 Rasmussen poll, which found that 64 percent of Arizonans favored SB1070, also found that 85 percent of Arizona voters who are angry with the current broken immigration system blame the federal government.

Likewise, the recent CBS/NY Times poll shows that 51 percent of Americans believe that SB 1070--which gives the police the power to question anyone they suspect is in the country illegally, requires people to produce documents verifying their status if asked, and allows officers to detain anyone who cannot do so--is "about right" in its approach. Yet that same poll shows that:

  • 57 percent believe immigration laws should be set by the federal government.
  • 57 percent also believe immigrant contribute to the U.S. Economy; and
  • 73 percent think SB 1070 will "burden local law enforcement"

4. There are Real Electoral Benefits for Candidates to Address Immigration Issues Head On

Passage of SB 1070 has increased all voters' attention on the urgent need for a federal overhaul of our broken immigration system. In fact, 77 percent of Arizonans believe it is important for the federal government to address immigration before the November, 2010 election.

Given widespread frustration with inaction, there is a tremendous opportunity for candidates to define their support for comprehensive immigration overhaul early. A recent Hart research poll conducted in Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, and Colorado found that in every state, confidence of candidates to handle the immigration issue grows considerably after voters hear the plan for comprehensive reform and subsequent debate.

On the other hand, failure to lead and define their position early could continue to prove costly to both Democrats and Republicans. In the same Hart poll, voters' confidence in Democrats ability to handle the issue of immigration is relatively low; in fact 36 percent think Republicans are handling the issue better, while just 24 percent of voters in those states think Democrats are doing a better job on the issue.

Again, the same poll shows that voters support a comprehensive reform approach by a solid 14 point margin. A pro comprehensive solutions stance on the issue of immigration that coupled enforcement with a practical program to require undocumented immigrant to register for legal status is well-received by all voters; but action is particularly important for Latino voters.

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