Immigration Reform Protester
Protester Yolanda Araujo holds a mock resident alien card at a rally for immigration reform near Senator Dianne Feinstein's office, in Los Angeles, California, April 10, 2013. Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn

A new survey of 800 Latino voters carried out by polling group Latino Decisions and commissioned by the liberal think tank Center for American Progress shows that Congress’ failure to pass immigration reform may take a greater toll on Republican candidates than Democrat ones when it comes to getting the Latino vote. Some 74 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to favor Republicans -- with 54 percent evincing strong feelings on the position -- if House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) did not bring reform legislation to a vote in the lower chamber this Congressional session.

Nearly a year after the Senate passed its own comprehensive bill on the issue, which was rejected by House GOP, 53 percent of Latino voters said they would feel more favorably toward Republicans in Congress if the speaker were to put the issue to a vote, with just under a quarter saying they would feel “much more” favorably. As it stands, 68 percent say they disapprove of how the House GOP has handled the issue -- by contrast, 54 percent approve of how Obama has handled it, and 49 percent of how House Democrats have.

The issue has been a particularly divisive one among Congressional Republicans, with much of the party’s old guard fearing that if it’s perceived as an obstacle to immigration reform, demographic trends will end up being a “death spiral,” as Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina put it last June. Other more conservative voices on the issue have pushed for Republicans to abandon their new efforts to appeal to Latino voters and voters of color and focus on whites who stayed home during the last presidential elections. But the Hispanic vote might not be as far of a shot as some might think for the GOP: 49 percent of those polled said they have voted for Republican candidates in the past.

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