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Poll: LA County Latino voters energized, concerned about unemployment, immigration, Trump

File: Voters take part in early ballot casting at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk in Norwalk on Wednesday morning, Nov. 2, 2016. Maya Sugarman/KPCC

A new poll of registered Latino voters in Los Angeles County takes a closer look at the views of the group that now makes up about a third of the county's registered voting population.

The poll, from Cal State L.A.'s Pat Brown Institute and polling group Latino Decisions, shows high motivation to get out and vote this year, with 71 percent absolutely certain they'll vote and another 16 percent who say they probably will vote.

The top issues driving Latino voters: unemployment/jobs/the economy, immigration and discrimination/race relations.

Raphe Sonenshein, director of the institute and of the poll, told KPCC that their pollsters assume respondents' enthusiasm is largely driven by reaction to Donald Trump's campaign.

"Our polling team at Latino Decisions polls around the nation Latino voters as well, and they're finding that everywhere, that people are treating this as the most important election in their memory," Sonenshein said. "So what that suggests is that Latino registered voters, who are about 32 percent of L.A. County's registered voters, will probably at least have that share of the vote ... which would be significant."

The report also found "very strong support" among L.A.'s Latinos for Measure M, the public transportation measure that requires a two-thirds majority vote. It's one of the most heavily contested races on the ballot this year, according to Sonenshein.

"There hasn't been a lot of polling on Measure M, but I will tell you that the overall support was at 71 percent, and it takes 66.7 percent to pass. And that it is even higher among those Latino registered voters who are foreign-born, and whose main language is Spanish," Sonenshein said. "Some of the speculation is that there is significant use of the public transportation system, and a lot of working people who really rely on public transportation, or would like to have more options for transportation to and from work."

You can read the rest of the poll results below, along with more analysis from Sonenshein.

Interview highlights

On why there's so much support for Measure M

It's very important to people's daily lives. We found that, when it came to high-speed rail, the statewide issue, more of the support had to do with more affluent, better-educated Latino registered voters, which we think is a different dynamic than the one about local public transportation.

On geographical differences

We did see, on Measure M, that where people live — that if they lived in the city of Los Angeles, they were even more likely to support Measure M, at about 73 percent. If they lived outside the city of L.A., but within the county of L.A., they were less than 71 percent. So that's kind of an interesting thing because of the complicated dynamics of a ballot measure like Measure M, where so many communities had an interest in how that ballot measure would look.

On Proposition 64, which would legalize recreational marijuana

On the marijuana initiative, Latino voters in L.A. County supported, but not by a large amount. It was a small majority — about 53 percent. But as with every other group in the country, you see a generational split there. That younger voters were far more likely to support Prop 64, that marijuana initiative. Now we did not measure all of the ballot measures this year, but that was one we wanted to look at, because we thought it could possibly be an indicator of generational differences, and we definitely found that out.

Full results