Campaign communication about immigration reform has an effect on voters from a variety of backgrounds. That’s part of the analysis of an exit poll conducted statewide after this week’s vote in Virginia.
The majority of Latino and Asian American voters say immigration reform was a key issue in their voting decisions this year. Analysts say the gubernatorial race offered voters a clear distinction on the issue, with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli speaking out against immigration and Governor Elect Terry McAuliffe showing strong support for it. Virginia Tech Assistant Professor of Political Science, Xavier Medina Vidal says if Republicans keep up the anti- immigration rhetoric, they may continue to be punished at the ballot box here and elsewhere.
“When they target immigrants it’s easy for other, what we call, politically vulnerable groups to feel threatened as well. So on social issues McAuliffe was aggressive in his inclusivity because he recognizes that if you’re ramping up the immigration rhetoric it is turning away women voters, it is turning away gay and lesbian voters it is turning away younger voters because these groups also feel threatened by some of these policies.”
And while these voters chose mostly Democrats in Virginia’s statewide election, the majority of Latino and Asian Americans say they have voted for Republican candidates in the past. Medina Vidal says that suggests, this growing sector of the voting population should not be written off by Republicans.