By Renee Blake, Public News Service

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Latino voters are getting a lot of credit for the way the 2012 elections turned out. Professor Gabriel Sanchez, Latino Decisions director of research, says Latinos have moved to the left since the election of President George W. Bush. 

In an impreMedia election eve pollcovering New Mexico and 10 other states, pollsters found that immigration plans such as the Obama Deferred Action program and the support of self-deportation from Mitt Romney had significant impact on how New Mexico Latinos marked their ballots.

“Overwhelmingly, Latino voters indicated that if Mitt Romney were to be elected president, the chances of comprehensive immigration reform would be much worse than under President Obama. That was a big story in terms of enthusiasm toward the President and not so much toward Mitt Romney.”

Sanchez, an associate professor of political science at the University of New Mexico, says the Latino population nationally gave President Obama 75 percent support, and the turnout was on a par with that of 2008.

In New Mexico this election cycle, Sanchez says the President got 77 percent of the Latino vote. That is much higher than it has been historically for presidential elections, he adds.

“This is the reason why New Mexico has moved to an overwhelmingly Democratic state. It has been the surge in Democratic voters in terms of their numbers, as well as a strong movement toward the Democratic Party.”

Sanchez also has advice for campaign managers of future elections.

“The big part of this election cycle is not just states traditionally known to have Latino voters. A lot of these other states are where Latinos are relatively small in number, but if they’re going to vote as a voting block at near 80 percent for the Democratic party, that really changes the map electorally, looking forward.”

The poll results are available at

This article was first published in Public News Service.

[Photo courtesy Public News Service]

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