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Poll: Immigration policies play out personally for Latino voters

A new poll suggests immigration remains top-of-mind for Latino voters.
A new poll suggests immigration remains top-of-mind for Latino voters.
David McNew/Getty Images

A majority of Latino voters are closely familiar with people affected by immigration policies, the results of a new poll suggest.

The research from the Latino Decisions polling firm has 63 percent of Latino voters saying they personally know someone who is undocumented, and 39 percent saying they know an immigrant  who has faced deportation or detention.

Among those polled who said they know an undocumented immigrant, six percent said it was a family member; 39 percent said they had undocumented "friends and family," while 52 percent said they had undocumented friends.

The numbers bring home why immigration remains a top-of-mind issue for Latino voters. The poll ranks it as the top issue that respondents believe the White House and Congress should address; other studies have placed the economy at the top for Latinos, same as other voters, but with immigration not far behind. Some of those polled said Congress should address the economy before moving on to immigration, but more thought lawmakers should address both at once.

The personal connections with people affected by immigration policies also shed light on why immigration measures — and political rhetoric — are often taken personally by Latino voters.

While only 22 percent said they personally knew somehow who has applied for deferred action, a program that offers temporary legal status to young undocumented immigrants, 70 percent said they favored a clear path to citizenship for the nation's estimated 11 million undocumented. Only 25 percent said this should be contingent on border security goals, as suggested by some members of Congress.

Another interesting result: The poll results suggest that more Latinos would be likely to cast Republican votes if the GOP were to take the lead in passing a comprehensive immigration reform package with a path to citizenship.

See highlights from the poll results here.