WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Immigration policy is less important to Hispanic voters than it is to the electorate generally when it comes to making voting decisions. Moreover, a substantial majority of Hispanic voters approved of immigration positions advocated by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. These are among the key findings of an exit poll conducted by Zogby Analytics on behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
The exit poll, conducted on Nov. 9-10, torpedoes dire warnings by Hispanic activist groups, open borders advocates, and political consultants that immigration is the determining factor for Hispanic voters and that this group of voters will not support candidates who favor immigration enforcement over amnesty.
"The conventional wisdom that advocating enforcement of immigration laws is a deal-killer for Hispanic voters is just plain wrong. It is a myth perpetuated by groups and individuals with a political stake in maintaining mass immigration and by a bunch of high-price political consultants who continually misread public sentiment," said Dan Stein president of FAIR.
Among the key findings of the Zogby Analytics exit poll:
- 77.4 percent of Hispanic voters rated immigration as important or somewhat important in their voting decisions. That figure is substantially less than the 84.6 percent of all voters who said it was important or somewhat important, and a full ten percentage points less than the 87.8 percent of white voters who rated immigration as important or somewhat important.
- 58.5 percent of Hispanic voters said they "support Donald Trump's immigration policies," including many who said they do not like him as a person. Conversely, only 32.9 percent of Hispanic voters said they "support Hillary Clinton's immigration policies," even though a much greater percentage liked her as a person. Among all voters, 54.7 percent supported Trump's immigration policies compared with 38.4 percent who supported Clinton's.
- 36.3 percent of Hispanic voters believe current immigration enforcement is too lax, double the number, 18.3 percent, who say it is too strict, and more than ten percentage points higher than those who think it is about right, 25.5 percent.
Almost 4 in ten Hispanic voters favor "enforcing and strengthening laws against illegal immigration to encourage them to return home," with 48.8 percent support allowing current illegal aliens "to become legal and remain in the country."
"Donald Trump may not have won the Hispanic vote in this election, but clearly it was not because of his views on immigration," observed Stein. "If anything, his positions on immigration seem to have helped him among Hispanic voters whose economic circumstances are being harmed by excessive immigration and unchecked illegal immigration."
Other polling data, particularly the findings of the Pew Hispanic Center, confirm that bread-and-butter issues like jobs, quality education, health care, and other issues are the primary motivating factors for Hispanic voters.
"As Republicans lay out their immigration agenda for the next two years in control of the White House and both houses of Congress, they would be well-advised to ignore the self-anointed spokespeople and the political consulting class. Enforcing immigration laws, securing our borders, protecting American workers and taxpayers, and setting reasonable limits on immigration enjoy broad public support, including large numbers of Hispanic Americans who stand to benefit economically from the policies President-elect Trump ran on," concluded Stein.
Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group. With over 500,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.