DENVER – A new survey finds Latino voters in Colorado are engaged for the upcoming election – and want the government to take up two key issues.
Nearly half of those surveyed say fixing the economy and improving employment is the nation’s key issue, with immigration reform and the DREAM Act coming in a close second.
Dr. Robert Preuhs, an assistant professor of political science at Metro State University who helped analyze the Colorado Latino Voter Survey by Latino Decisions for America’s Voice, says prospective Latino voters report increasing enthusiasm about President Obama and decreasing enthusiasm about Gov. Mitt Romney – but 70 percent of voters, regardless of candidate preference, say they’re very enthusiastic about voting this year.
“This may be an important story in terms of this election as Colorado becomes one of the close states and voter preference combined with voter mobilization are going to be key to either candidate’s victory.”
Three-fourths of surveyed Latino voters in Colorado support the Asset Bill to allow undocumented immigrant students who graduate from a Colorado high school to qualify for a special college tuition rate – and seven in 10 say they personally know someone who is undocumented.
Gabriel Sanchez, director of research at Latino Decisions, says those findings are a big shift from a decade ago.
“It’s not just a policy discussion anymore. We’re really seeing this become personal for Latino voters. Ten years ago, it actually was much more like a 50-50 split among Latino voters on immigration policy, their attitudes towards that. That’s changed significantly.”
Grace Lopez Ramirez, Colorado state director for the nonpartisan Mi Familia Vota, says she was pleasantly surprised by the voter-enthusiasm numbers. Earlier in the year, she says, voters were less involved.
“Finally, it’s getting into the community’s brain that we are three weeks away from an election. It is important for all of us as a community to engage in these issues, to educate our communities about these issues and to get out and vote.”
The poll surveyed 400 registered Latino voters in Colorado from Sept. 29 through Oct. 4.
Poll results and a news conference video are online at americasvoiceonline.org.