In a blog post Monday, Public Policy Polling (PPP) suggested that the controversy surrounding Arizona's new immigration laws could be a "gift" for vulnerable Western Democrats like Michael Bennet of Colorado.
PPP points out that Bennet leads among Latino voters by just 12 points (47%-35%) over the most prominent Republican candidate, former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton. By contrast, President Obama had a 23-point advantage with the same group of voters in 2008.
PPP suggests that "[Arizona Governor] Jan Brewer may well have handed Reid and Bennet the issue that will get Hispanics back to voting Democratic at the same levels they did in 2008." Terry Goddard, and Arizona Democrat running for Attorney General, has already seen a spike in Latino support since the laws were enacted.
Latinos make up roughly 20% of the population in Colorado.
Norton, for her part, has defended Arizona's immigration laws, which require all legal immigrants to carry paperwork proving their status, and requires police to look into the immigration status of anyone they think may be in the country illegally.
Norton's opponent for the GOP nomination, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, has staked his reputation on taking a hard line against illegal immigration.
Bennet has opposed the law, calling it "outrageous."
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