Following its 2012 election loss, the Republican Party placed a greater emphasis on Latino outreach—commissioning an “autopsy” report to serve as a blueprint for recruiting these voters in future cycles. That effort has since been compromised: With a polarizing and anti-immigrant candidate at the top of the GOP ticket, some in the party are worried they’ll lose Latinos up and down the ballot. But according to a new survey from a Latino polling firm, they may not need to worry too much: Latino voters aren’t translating their frustration with Donald Trump’s immigration policies to the down-ballot candidates in his party.
Immigration is a top issue among Latino registered voters, a Latino Decisions poll confirmed last week. Nationally, 38 percent of respondents said “immigration/ deportations” is the top issue facing their community, and one of the most important subjects “that [they] think Congress and the president should address.” But it seems Latino voters aren’t entirely aware of Senate candidates’ positions on immigration—a possible advantage to Republicans praying for the Latino vote as they try to retain their control of Congress.
Take the survey respondents’ opinions on President Obama’s 2014 executive action on immigration. That proposal aimed to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation, but it was effectively blocked earlier this year in a split decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The poll found that Latino registered voters viewed Obama’s actions favorably, but the majority of respondents in battleground states didn’t know which Senate candidates support or oppose his policies.