POLL: Racial Divide Runs Deep On Immigration

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WASHINGTON – White and Latino Americans are deeply divided over immigration, their allegiances to the nation’s political parties and their opinions about President Barack Obama, according to a new NBC/MSNBC/Telemundo poll.

And in the wake of Arizona’s controversial anti-illegal immigration law, the survey suggests that Republicans could get an immediate political boost, but may face a long-term problem among Latinos, the nation’s fastest-growing demographic group.

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“Are there areas where the Republicans can make short-term gains? Yes,” says Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this poll with GOP pollster Bill McInturff.

“But the fear is that they have long-term losses.”

Breaking down the white-Latino divide
In the poll, 61 percent say they favor Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigration law, which would require local and state law enforcement officers to question people about their immigration status if they have reason to suspect a person is in the country illegally. The law would also make it a crime to lack the proper registration documents.

But there’s a divide among white and Latino respondents: 70 percent of whites support the law, versus just 31 percent of Latinos. In fact, 58 percent of Latinos say they strongly oppose it.

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