07/23/2013 12:38 pm ET

Undocumented Latinos Favor Democrats: Poll


Most undocumented immigrants from Latin America tend to favor Democrats, polling data released Monday by the Pew Hispanic Center says.

Some 54 percent of undocumented Latinos either identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, compared to just 19 percent for the GOP, according to Pew.

The incomplete Pew data is based on 2012 polling of foreign-born Latinos who did not identify as either U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, meaning they were likely unauthorized. But Latinos, Pew says, only make up about three-quarters of undocumented immigrants.

The figure will likely fuel concern among immigration hardliners. Rightwing pundits have long feared that comprehensive immigration reform including a path to citizenship would undermine Republican campaign efforts.

The GOP has alienated the Latino vote in recent years, to judge from presidential election results. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican candidate, fielded just 27 percent of the Latino vote -- the worst outing since Bob Dole's unsuccessful 1996 campaign.

Many observers attributed Romney's poor performance to his embrace of hardline immigration policies and rhetoric that Latino voters often found offensive. George W. Bush, who speaks some Spanish and backed immigration reform, won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004.

The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill last month, but the measure has stalled in the House, where many Republicans say they want to approach the issue with piecemeal legislation.



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