Latinos Galvanized by Arizona Immigration Law
HF Report shows that Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law has energized Latinos in support of fair, comprehensive federal immigration reform
The Hispanic Federation released a study of Latino public opinion measuring the remarkable unity of the Hispanic community in opposition to Arizona’s racial profiling law, known as SB 1070, and support for comprehensive immigration reform across political affiliations, degrees of assimilation, and national origin groups.
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Study on Latinos’ Perceptions of the Immigration Policy Debate
Methodology: This project was designed to reach a fully representative sample of the U.S. Hispanic community. To achieve this without undue reliance on after-the-fact weighting, the sample was carefully stratified to match U.S. Census figures. The sample was split into half online panelists, half phone interviews. Within the phone interviews, 40% were reached using a voter sample, 60% by using Garcia Research’s proprietary sampling system combining random digit dialing in high density areas and surname sample in low density areas throughout the US. The data was collected in the last week of May and the first two weeks of June, 2010.
Background: Comprehensive immigration reform has been an elusive goal for the past decade. Once championed across the political spectrum by leaders of both the left and the right, Kennedy, McCain and Bush, and launched into the headlines with the big multi-city marches in the spring of 2006, comprehensive immigration reform suffered a backlash from the Right which led to a weakening of bipartisan support for it during the GOP presidential primaries in 2008. The recession, the protracted health care reform debate, and other crises, has sharpened divisions over immigration, divisions highlighted even further by the passing of Arizona’s SB1070.
Study Findings: Despite all of the recent and current major public policy distractions, the Latino community finds itself remarkably unified in support of immigration reform with a path to citizenship, unified in opposition to Arizona’s SB1070, and poised to tangibly demonstrate their position. Bicultural Latinos show similar positions on the key issues as low-acculturated Latinos. Even a majority of those with “high” acculturation, who are mostly U.S. born and are more likely to be fully integrated into U.S. society, stand with the community in favor of reform and against Arizona’s SB 1070.
- Immigration is now statistically tied with jobs and the economy at 24 to 25%, as the most important issue of personal concern, up from December 2009 when jobs and the economy led immigration 33 to 17%.
- 9 in 10 Latinos view immigration reform as important, and 8 in 10 deem it of extreme importance. Two-thirds of those who feel immigration is important want immediate action on immigration reform legislation and 86% want to see legislation with a pathway to citizenship signed into law.
Politics: The Latino community leans heavily to the Democratic Party, with over half of all voters identifying as Democrats. Only 13% identify as Republican while 33% identify as independent, undecided or minor party voters. Large majorities of Latinos of all parties will support politicians who favor immigration reform, ranging from 62% among Republicans to 71% among Democrats. And if immigration reform does not pass, slightly more than half of pro-immigration reform Latino voters of all parties will consider voting for different candidates or party while over a quarter may opt to sit out the mid-term election altogether. Latino voters appear poised to work more in FAVOR of candidates who share their opinion than AGAINST those who oppose them. And they seem almost equally likely to bear a grudge against those who oppose their position as they are against those who favor their position but don’t evidence the political courage to work hard enough to make immigration reform happen.
- 1 in 4 Hispanic Americans who aren’t already registered to vote intend to register before November; and 8 in 10 of those who are registered or intend to register, plan to vote in the midterms.
- 4 in 10 Latinos responded that they would not forgive a politician/party who didn’t work hard enough for immigration reform, even if they support reform. 37% of Latino voters said they would hold a grudge against a politician or a party for many years for opposing immigration reform.
Lifestyle Changes: There is a good deal of evidence that the community is shaken by passage of Arizona’s SB 1070. Latinos’ decreased willingness to interact with law enforcement is a good measure of this:
- 20% of Latinos respond they would be less likely to report major crimes, such as a brutal assault, to police if a law similar to Arizona’s SB 1070 were enacted in their state. The number climbs to 30% for minor crimes such as theft.
Survey results measure a mixture of fear and anger among Latinos, with individuals opting to change their lifestyles, shopping behaviors, transportation, and community participation as they adapt to an environment that is increasingly hostile to them.
- 36-37% of Latinos respond they have been less likely to attend public sporting and cultural events since enactment of Arizona’s SB 1070.
Mood Shift: The mood of Latinos is shifting as it feels under attack. It is less confident about the direction of the country, an attitude that is even more dramatic in Arizona where Latinos are bearing the brunt of the anti-immigrant and anti-Latino backlash.
- 35% of Latinos respond that the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction, compared to 31% who believe it is headed in the right direction. This is a significant shift from Latino’s typically optimistic view of the direction of the country. In December 2009, 44% responded right direction to 23% who responded wrong direction.
- 64% of Latinos, including 60% of Arizona Latinos, want the 2011 MLB All-Star Game moved out of Arizona due to SB 1070; and 80% of them feel that the Latino players should boycott the games if they are not moved.
LatinoMetrics – The partners: this firm is a joint venture between Garcia Research and Santiago ROI, two well established leaders in the Hispanic marketing field, both Latino owned and operated. Garcia Research is a Hispanic marketing research firm with a 20 year history, its own call center and its own internet research panel, Cada Cabeza. Santiago ROI is a thought leader in strategic planning and marketing optimization in the Hispanic space.