Latino Voters Turn Out in Record Numbers, Many Driven by Immigration Concerns

Written by on November 8, 2016 in Elections with 0 Comments

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Reports on early voting trends, election-eve polling and Election Day exit polls are coming together a powerful narrative about the Latino electorate and the public’s desire to move forward with humane and practical immigration solutions.

Not only are Latino voters turning out in record numbers, but they are self-reporting that they care deeply about the need for action on immigration. Election eve polls are also showing that many Latino voters made their decisions about who to vote for long before Election Day. In addition, exit polls indicate that an overwhelming majority of Americans support productive solutions on immigration that get undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship.

With respect to early voter turnout in the key state of Nevada, the New York Times reports:

“The Hispanic vote in Nevada has propelled Democrats to a considerable lead in the early vote. Many analysts believe that it has already been enough to secure the state for Mrs. Clinton. The turnout has surpassed 2012 levels in several of Las Vegas’s heavily Hispanic precincts.”

And in Florida, they reported that overall “as many Hispanic voters have already cast ballots in Florida’s early voting period as cast ballots in all of 2012.”

However, to dig a bit deeper on their motivations, Latino Decisions released a poll of 5,500 Latino voters today that found immigration was the top issue for Latino voters in their nationwide polling with nearly two-thirds (64 percent) saying that immigration was the “top, most important” or “one of the most important” issues in their decision to vote and who to for this election. 60 percent also reported that they know someone who is an undocumented immigrant. 82 percent showed support for the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Initiative. 68 percent opposed Republican efforts to stop expansion of these deferred action programs.

Nationwide efforts to register Latino voters are likely responsible for 20 percent of Latinos reporting that this was their first vote in a Presidential election. Notably, however, there were few who left their decision to the last minute. 78 percent said they had made their decision about who to vote for this summer or earlier.

According to exit polling from ABC released today, nearly three fourths of the voters polled disagree with Trump’s immigration positions. They found:

“Many more voters say undocumented immigrants should be given a path to citizenship or be deported (71 percent vs. 25 percent). And more oppose rather than support one of Trump’s signature policies, building a wall along Mexican border (54 percent vs. 40 percent) in preliminary exit poll results.”

Finally, despite their growing influence in elections, campaigns still underestimate and under-serve these voters. According to the Latinos Decisions poll nationwide, 64 percent of Latino voters were not contacted by a campaign, party, or community organization in recent months about voting or registering to vote. According to America’s Voice:

“Most general election polls simply do not adequately capture the Latino community. The main culprits: Small Latino samples that don’t reflect their proportion of the electorate; English-only operators who aren’t able to communicate to the roughly 30% of the electorate that prefers to communicate in Spanish; Call-back methods for Spanish-dominant respondents that have notoriously poor success rates; and Turnout models that discount and ignore first-time and low-propensity voters.”

In an election cycle full of twists and turns, a key lesson learned may be to never underestimate the Latino community and how deeply all Americans care about our immigrant past and future.

Photo Courtesy of SEIU Local 99 | Education Workers United.

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