As Congress’ attention to lawmaking wanes in place of politicking and mid-term elections, a string of new polls are emerging that further depict the strained relationship between Latinos and Republicans. The GOP strategy of alienating the fastest growing demographic through harsh rhetoric and the blockage of immigration reform is starting to reap results. Much like polls that emerged after the failure of comprehensive immigration reform in 2007, Latinos are steadily edging away from the GOP.

One example comes from the Los Angeles Times, whose recent poll shows that California Latinos strongly approve of Obama’s performance and have a high voting enthusiasm. According to the L.A. Times/USC Poll conducted this month, Latinos clearly support the Democratic candidates over their opponents in the state’s Senate race, particularly when it comes to the issue of immigration (24 points higher). Latinos also favor the Democratic candidate for Governor and believe he will be better on the issue of immigration than his opponent (23 points higher).

According to Latino Decisions:

Latinos are becoming increasingly frustrated with the Republican Party, following three weeks of data from the Latino Decisions weekly national tracking poll of Latino registered voters, though Democrats have not yet surged ahead in the 2010 congressional vote. 65% of Latinos now say they are less excited about the Republican Party as compared to one year ago, up from 60% who were less excited as of August 30th. Further, when it comes to immigration, 74% of Latinos say the Republican Party is either ignoring or blocking immigration reform, up from 70% as of August 30th.

According to America’s Voice, “Latino voters will punish Republicans who oppose immigration reform.” They cite LatinoMetrics polls which show that since the end of 2009, immigration has catapulted to the top issue of personal concern among 1 in 4 Latinos—tied with jobs and the economy. Also when asked, “With which political party do you most closely identify?” only 13% said “Republican.” The same poll also asked, “How do you think the immigration issue would impact how you feel about politicians and the parties they represent?” 68% said they would support candidates who favor immigration reform, while only 19% said they would be willing to support a candidate who opposed immigration reform.

Immigrants’ rights groups are already working to capitalize on this growing schism, particularly in hotly contested races. For example today, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Mi Familia Vota Civic Participation Campaign, and America’s Voice are launching Spanish-language radio ads in nine media markets across the country. The ads point to the Republican Party’s obstructionism on immigration reform, cite the GOP’s successful effort to block a vote on the DREAM Act last week, and encourage voters to support the candidates who “support our families, and make our dreams come true.”

Despite repeated warnings from GOP leaders, many in their party continue to ignore the Latino vote, and it looks like they are doing so at their own peril.

Photo by automata.