The country's Hispanic voting population is gaining political ground, rallying behind the new president, and keeping immigration reform close to its heart, according to poll results released Monday.
"It's a very personal issue," Sergio Bendixen, president of Bendixen & Associates, a Coral Gables-based consulting and research firm, said of immigration in a telephone news conference. "What's new in this poll is the growing intensity among Hispanic voters."
In Spanish-English interviews with 800 Hispanic voters from Florida to California, researchers from Bendixen's group found that Hispanic voters identify more closely with the Democratic party than the Republican party, and that they view President Barack Obama as a leader sympathetic to immigration issues. The pro-immigration campaign America's Voice also sponsored the report.
Researchers interviewed Hispanic voters from 13 states from April 28-May 5. Fifteen percent of those interviewed lived in Florida, 29 percent in California, and 24 percent in Texas. The survey's error margin: 4 percentage points.
A central part of the survey was finding how the 12-13 million Hispanic eligible voters are casting ballots.
Although some Hispanic voters have sided with Republicans in the past, the report showed that a majority of those interviewed backed President Barack Obama. Sixty eight percent of respondents said they "supported" Obama in the 2008 presidential election, compared to 30 percent who supported GOP candidate John McCain.
Seventy-one percent of respondents said the Democratic Party best represents the opinion of the Hispanic community on immigration issues, compared to 11 percent who mentioned the Republican Party.
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