Nearly 1 in 4 Latino Registered Voters View Protecting Immigrant Rights as Top Issue in Election 2018

Oct 9, 2018
11:26 AM
Originally published at Latino Decisions

2018 Families Belong Together rally in Washington, D.C. (Photo by SLOWKING)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Four weeks before voters head to the polls for the 2018 midterm elections, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund and Latino Decisions released the results of the sixth wave of its 10-week national tracking poll of Latino registered voters.

Results from the sixth week of the NALEO Educational Fund/Latino Decisions National Weekly Political Tracking Poll offer exclusive insights into the Latino electorate this year, including opinions on whether U.S. Homeland Secretary Kristjen Nielsen should resign following the release of a memo stating children should be separated and held in detention away from their parents, support for the construction of a 2,000 mile wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, issue priorities, campaign and party outreach, and more.

Each week, a fresh sample of 250 registered voters will be added and combined with the previous 250 interviews to create a rolling average, consistent with most tracking polls methodology.  This week’s poll of Latino registered voters nationwide was conducted by Latino Decisions from September 26–October 8, 2018 (with a margin of error of 4.4 percent).

“Immigration is one of the top issues fueling Latino enthusiasm in 2018,” stated Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund chief executive officer.  “Latinos are ready to do their part and protect immigrant rights by making our voices heard at the polls, but we are facing an uphill battle that will require us to mobilize ourselves since we are once again being taken for granted by Democrats and Republicans alike.  This is a pattern that we have seen many times before, and it is time for both parties to finally break this cycle once and for all by investing in consistent and sustained long-term engagement of the Latino community if they want to secure our support in 2018 and beyond.”

“The child detention and family separation issue continues to resonate with Latino voters, who are very upset about how these young immigrant children have been treated by the federal government,” stated Matt Barreto, co-founder of Latino Decisions and Professor of Chicano Studies and Political Science at UCLA. “Latino voters are saying they are ‘disgusted’ by the failure to reunite these children with their parents and that anger is a critical ingredient to mobilization in 2018, but only if the candidates offer a solution to the immigration mess our government has created.”

Key findings include:

  • Latinos think Election 2018 is important and are ready to make their voices heard. More than 70 percent of Latino voters are certain or likely to vote in the upcoming elections, with a majority stating that participating in Election 2018 is more important than it was in 2016 (63 percent) and 2014 (69 percent).
  • Consistent and sustained engagement remains a concern for Latino electorate. With a month to go before Election 2018, 55 percent of Latino voters have yet to be contacted by a political party, candidate or campaign.
  • Immigration issues still rank near the top for Latino voters. Nearly one in four Latino voters (23 percent) view protecting immigrants rights as the most important issue facing the nation and Latino community.  Border security to control immigration was also listed as a top issue priority for 8 percent of Latino voters.
  • Latino voters believe DHS Secretary Kristjen Nielsen should resign.Following the release of a new memo demonstrating Secretary Nielsen’s approval of a policy that states children should be separated and held in detention away from their parents, more than three-fourths (78 percent) of Latino voters believe that she should resign from her post.
  • There is significant opposition to a border wall among Latino voters, but it is not unanimous. While 69 percent of Latino voters oppose a 2,000 mile wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, nearly one-third of Latinos polled reported supporting its construction.
  • Emotions run high when it comes to children being separated from their parents. Latino voters overwhelmingly objected to reports that hundreds of children are still separated from their parents in detention centers, stating that this news made them feel disgusted (83 percent) and angry (80 percent).  Only 13 percent of Latino voters reported being happy about this development.

“If campaigns and candidates want to break through and really see a big increase in Latino turnout they have to stop relying on traditional models of likely voters and go after the unlikely voters that are typically ignored,” stated Adrian Pantoja, Senior Analyst at Latino Decisions and Professor of Politics at Pitzer College.  “You need to consistently engage low propensity voters with outreach, communications, and relevant messaging to break through.”

As we near Election 2018, NALEO Educational Fund will continue its efforts to ensure that Latino voters have the information necessary to make their voices heard at the ballot box.  These efforts include operating our toll-free bilingual hotline 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682) that provides Latino voters with information on every aspect of the electoral process, from registering to vote, to voter ID requirements, to finding their polling place.  On Election Day, the hotline will be connected to the Election Protection efforts and 1-866-OUR-VOTE, offering Latino voters nationwide a bilingual resource to get assistance and report any problems they may experience at the polls.

To view the methodology and full toplines for week six of the 10-week tracking poll, see below:


About NALEO Educational Fund
NALEO Educational Fund is the nation’s leading non-partisan, non-profit organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service. 

About Latino Decisions
Latino Decisions is the nation’s leading polling and research firm on Latino Americans, being called the “gold-standard in Latino American polling” by Time Magazine, and has implemented its weekly political tracking poll of Latino voters every cycle since 2010.