Hispanic Voters Focus on Economy, Not Immigration
Other issues ranked above immigration: Gallup poll
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2012 6:36 AM CDT
In this May 10, 2011 file photo, audience members listen to President Barack Obama speak about immigration reform at Chamizal National Memorial Park in El Paso, Texas.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

(Newser) – Mitt Romney recently rolled out a decidedly more relaxed attitude on immigration, likely in an attempt to appeal to Hispanic voters—but perhaps he needn't have bothered: A new Gallup poll finds that registered Hispanic voters in the US care more about a whole host of other issues than they do immigration. Even when looking at all US Hispanics, the poll finds that healthcare, unemployment, and immigration are all ranked equally as the issue most important to those surveyed. (Bad news for Mitt anyway, though: The poll found President Obama leads him by 66% to 25% among US Hispanics who are registered to vote.)

Among all US Hispanics, healthcare, unemployment, and immigration were each ranked as the No. 1 issue by 20% of those surveyed. But among registered voters, 21% named healthcare the most important issue, followed by 19% who said unemployment, 17% who said economic growth, 16% who named the gap between rich and poor, and then 12% who said immigration was the most important to them. Of the six choices presented, only the federal budget deficit ranked lower, with 11% of those surveyed naming it the No. 1 issue. Those most likely to name immigration as their top concern were immigrants and first-generation Hispanic-Americans.

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Jun 25, 2012 9:00 AM CDT
Sometimes, polls about issues that are "most important" to voters can be misleading. When someone says that the economy is the most important issue, it is sometimes because they wouldn't even consider a candidate who was wrong on an issue that was foundational for them. For example, someone who never votes for candidates unless they oppose abortion might answer that the most important issue for them is the economy, because they are interested in hearing positions on that issue, because there is no clearcut choice that they've already made. I suspect that for many Hispanic voters, a humane position on immigration is an assumption -- they wouldn't consider voting for someone with an extreme anti-immigration stance -- so they are more interested in where candidates stand on the economy. This is why Romney feels it is important to walk back his anti-immigrant primary rhetoric. He needs to pass the bar that will allow voters to look at his economic policies and not dismiss him out of hand for inhumane anti-immigrant policies.
Jun 25, 2012 8:27 AM CDT
"The poll found President Obama leads him by 66% to 25%..." And this is why we have an open border. The American people aren't where the Democrats are at politically, which is why they've reformed our immigration laws and ignored our borders so they can change the composition of the American people. When Democrats don't get what they want, they fix the system, and they lie to the people the whole way. They told us the Hart-Cellar Act would not substantially change our demographics, and now we're cruising toward a white-minority USA in thirty years. Destruction is much easier than creation. That is why, no matter what the American people keep saying election after election, the country has continued on a hard left glide path. The infrastructure for our decline is already in place, and it's much easier to be a Nixon/Ford/Bush Republican and merely tinker around the edges than to be a Reaganite.