Politics

Hispanic Voters' Preferences Unchanged Post-Arizona Law

by Frank Newport

Two-to-one preference for Democrat is nearly identical to intentions before passage

PRINCETON, NJ -- Hispanic voters nationwide haven't shifted their congressional voting preferences since the signing of Arizona's new immigration law on April 23. Their preference for the Democratic candidate over the Republican candidate, 61% to 32%, in April 23 to June 8 interviewing almost identically matches the 60% to 32% margin recorded between March 1 and April 22. White voters and black voters also haven't changed their voting intentions.

Congressional Generic Ballot, by Race/Ethnicity, Before and After Passage of Arizona Immigration Law

The Arizona immigration statute generated substantial news coverage during the time when it first became law, including critical commentary from President Obama himself. Some news coverage focused on the possible political implications of the law for the Hispanic vote this fall. Because the Arizona legislature that passed the law was Republican-controlled and because Democrats have been among the most vocal critics of the law, some observers hypothesized that Democrats could gain and Republicans could lose among Hispanic voters as a result.

But that does not appear to be the case -- at least to this point in time.

That said, President Obama's job approval rating is down among Hispanics this year. This drop appears to have begun prior to the April 23 signing of the new Arizona law. It should be noted that the drop in Obama's approval rating between January and May of this year was primarily among Hispanics who chose to be interviewed in Spanish, while the current sample of registered-voter Hispanics includes significantly fewer of this group.

Enthusiasm

Hispanics are slightly less likely to say they are "very enthusiastic" about voting this year, compared with whites or blacks. Enthusiasm among Hispanics ticked up very slightly between the two periods, while enthusiasm dwindled slightly among whites and blacks. These changes are not substantial enough to suggest major changes in the political climate, although they deserve monitoring between now and the election on Nov. 2.

Enthusiasm About Voting, by Race/Ethnicity, Before and After Passage of Arizona Immigration Law

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking March 1-June 8, 2010, with a random sample of Hispanic registered voters, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

For results based on the total sample of 548 Hispanic registered voters interviewed March 1-April 22, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

For results based on the total sample of 459 Hispanic registered voters interviewed April 23-June 8, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each daily sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, cell-phone-only status, cell-phone-mostly status, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit http://www.gallup.com/.

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