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Poll: In Tight KS Senate Race, Immigration A Big Issue for Latino Voters

More than in other states with competitive Senate races, Kansas Latinos said immigration reform was the most important issue when making their voting decisions, according to a poll of Latinos who had voted early or were likely to vote Tuesday.

The poll conducted by Latino Decisions for several Latino, immigration and civil rights groups and the AFL-CIO, found a third of the 4,200 registered Latino voters surveyed nationally considered immigration reform the most important issue in deciding whether to vote and which candidate to pick.

But in Kansas, where one of the more interesting U.S. Senate races of the midterms is taking place, 46 percent listed it as such.

Latinos are about 6 percent of the electorate in Kansas. Voters there face a choice between incumbent GOP Sen. Pat Roberts, who wants to see borders secured first and independent Greg Orman, who supports a path to citizenship for immigrants here illegally.

Orman has said he'll caucus _ meaning which party he'll usually, though not always vote with _ the party that wins the majority. But Vice President Joe Biden told Connecticut radio station WPLR, Orman he thinks Orman will be with Democrats.

The poll asked those surveyed to name the most important issues facing the Latino community that politicians should address. Those interviewed were allowed to give two responses.

Latino Decisions pollster Matt Barreto said 36 percent named immigration reform first. On other issues 23 percent named the economy first, 13 percent education/schools; 7 percent said health care and 2 percent said race relations.

A total 400 Latino registered voters were surveyed in each state and each state poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. Interviews by bilingual callers were done on landline telephones or cell phone with about a third in Spanish and the rest in English. Interviews were done Oct. 30 through Nov. 3.