Looks like there’s an addendum to last week’s report that Latino voters are still largely in favor of Democrats. Another poll released on Tuesday found that while Latino voters may not be flocking to the GOP, they’re so disillusioned with the nation’s political climate that many may sit the midterms out altogether.
The Pew Hispanic Center poll found that only 51 percent of registered Latino voters said they would absolutely go to the polls this November, compared with 70 percent of all registered voters.
Marc Lacy wrote for the New York Times on Wednesday that the country’s simmering immigration debate is steadily alienating Latino voters and pushing them to the sidelines. It’s true that Latinos have usually voted in lower numbers than non-Laintos, Lacy writes that this year, that gap is even wider.
More on the numbers:
Just 32 percent of all Latino registered voters said they had given this year’s election “quite a lot” of thought, compared with 50 percent of all registered voters in the country, the poll found. The nationwide poll is based on telephone interviews with 1,375 Latinos, of whom 618 are registered voters. The survey was conducted Aug. 17 to Sept. 19 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus five percentage points for registered voters.
While Democrats had hoped incendiary anti-immigrant legislation like SB 1070 would encourage voters to come out against Republicans in protest, it seems that the opposite is happening. That law would require police officers to ask people they stop about their immigration status if it’s suspected they’re in the country without papers, and several states have eyed similar copycat bills.
Anti-immigrant demagogues, like Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona, are spewing racially charged rhetoric and the nation’s political lens seems to be focused mostly on candidates who favor more punitive, and deadly, immigration rules.
“I’m a poster boy on this issue,” Arpaio proudly told the New York Times. The Arizona Sherriff is both reviled and revered nationally; he’s being sued by the Justice Department and accused of misconduct in his own county. Still, he’s being urged by supporters to run for President in 2012.
And he’s not the only one. This week alone, Arpaio’s give his much sought-after endorsement to Colorado’s Independent gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo and Nevada’s Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle. And in closely watched races that stretch from Florida to Texas to California, candidates are being forced to take strong stances either for or against harsh immigration enforcement laws.
“In every single race I’m looking at, candidates are being asked, ‘Would you sign an Arizona-like immigration law?” Jennifer Duffy, an editor for the nonpartisan Cook Political report, told the Times. “It’s now on a list of issues like a balanced-budget amendment and a tax cut. It’s part of the political lexicon, and it fires people up.”
According to this week’s statistics, that’s clearly not the case for everyone.
But it’s worth mentioning that the fight over immigration hasn’t sidelined everyone. Indeed, protests against SB 1070 have ignited a fury of activism, particularly among students of color.
“For the first time, I felt it was time for me to get involved,” Tomas Robles, a student at Arizona State, told the Times. Robles turned his outrage into action by registering 12 of his family members to vote, and then joined activists in Tempe who registered another 20,000 through door-to-door campaigning.