There's little argument that Arizona Republicans got a lot of short-term political gain out of SB 1070 and other exploitation of the immigration issue. But in the long term, it might just come back to haunt them.
Check out this Latino Decisions poll, taken in the wake of the Supreme Court's SB 1070 ruling and Obama's administrative mini-Dream Act. Obama has his highest numbers ever in the poll:
Latino Decisions released new national poll of Latino registered voters showing Barack Obama winning 70% of the Latino vote compared to 22% for Mitt Romney. The poll, commissioned by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and America’s Voice, illustrates an increase in support for President Obama, and comes after a month of outreach to Latino voters, starting with the June 15 Dream announcement, appearances by the President and Vice President at NALEO and NCLR conferences, and comments opposing Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law. This poll marks the first time Obama has received 70% of the vote in Latino Decisions polling on the presidential election over the past 20 months.
Obama maintains a substantial lead over Romney within nearly all segments of the Latino electorate. Among foreign-born, naturalized citizens Obama leads 72% to 19% and among U.S.-born Latinos he leads 69% to 25%. Similarly, Obama polls ahead of Romney by a large margin, 76% to 15% among Spanish dominant Latinos, and also has a healthy lead of 66% to 28% from English dominant. Two concerns for Romney may be that 13% of self-identified Latino Republicans say they will cross-over and vote for Obama and 60% of Independents plan to vote for Obama. In contrast only 2% of Democrats say they plan to vote for Romney.
Looking at voters with a validated vote history in 2008 Obama leads Romney 72% to 20%, and Latinos who reside in one of 13 critical battleground states (AZ, CO, FL, IA, IN, MI, MO, NC, NV, OH, PA, VA, WI) lean very heavily towards Obama, 71% to 21% for Romney. The lingering question now, is not whether Obama will win the Latino vote — he is poised to win it big, but rather whether Latino voter turnout matches or exceeds the record levels in 2008, or if Latino enthusiasm will be low and turnout mediocre at best. Even with a big margin among Latinos, if turnout is low Obama could fare poorly in many battleground states where Latinos are a large portion of the electorate.
We still don't buy Arizona as a swing state this year, but it's easy to believe that Republicans are steadily driving away Latino voters across the country.