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Poll: Immigration Ads Sour Latinos on GOP

Poll: Immigration Ads Sour Latinos on GOP

By Adam O'Neal - December 5, 2013

Latino voters exposed to AFL-CIO immigration reform advertisements are more likely to hold a negative view of the GOP and consider immigration reform a pressing issue, according to a new Latino Decisions poll commissioned by the labor organization.

The AFL-CIO ran Spanish-language ads in Denver, Orlando and Atlanta last month and then polled 600 viewers in those media markets. They also posed the same questions to 400 Spanish speakers in media markets where the ads did not air.

Respondents who saw the ads were nearly twice as likely to think that the Republican Party doesn’t care about “people like me.” And more than twice as many answered that “respects Hispanic community” does “not at all” describe the party today. The GOP was seen as the “anti-immigrant party” by 42 percent of respondents who saw the ads; only 22 percent of those who hadn’t seen them held the same position.

The poll also showed that respondents in the media markets where ads ran would be more likely blame Republicans if immigration reform fails in 2013, 73 percent to 44 percent. For reform in 2014, only 59 percent of those who saw ads would blame the GOP for failure, while 32 percent who didn’t see them would assign the same blame.

The survey suggests that shifted voter perceptions could have adverse electoral effects for Republican candidates. Nearly 70 percent of Latinos who saw the ads said they would, or were likely to, vote for a generic Democrat in 2014. Only 48 percent of Latinos who didn’t see the ads would do the same. A report from Latino Decisions accompanying the survey called this “perhaps the most significant finding in the poll.”

While the poll appears to be worrisome for the GOP, it is unclear how long the impression made by the advertisements will last (or how respondents would weigh counter-messaging from the Republican Party).

The poll of 1,000 Latino registered voters who regularly watch Spanish-language TV was conducted Nov. 22-30 and has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. 

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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