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Survey: Deportations Hurting Democrats Among Young Latino Voters

Supporters of immigration reform protest outside as House Speaker John Boehner addresses the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Monday, May 12, 2014, in San Antonio. Eric Gay / AP

Young Latino citizens view the Democratic party as less welcoming after becoming more aware of deportation policies under the Obama administration, according to a recent Latino Decisions survey.

"Given that partisan attachments formed by young adulthood tend to persist through voters’ lives, this suggests that current deportation policies have the potential to alienate Latino voters from the Democratic Party for decades," said Cornell University political scientist Michael Jones-Correa, Max Planck Institute fellow Alex Street and Loyola Marymount University political scientist Chris Zepeda-Millán.

The group surveyed a national sample of 1,050 young 18 to 31 year old US-born Latinos whose parents were born in Latin America. The survey found that among those who had information about the number of deportations in the last few years, 45 percent rated the Democrats as "welcoming to Latinos," down from 55 percent among those who did not know about deportation numbers. Only 9 percent of those sampled found the Republican party welcoming to Hispanics.

While strong or "committed" Democrats were still supportive of the party despite information on deportations, the researchers found negative effects on evaluations of the Democratic Party as “welcoming” among young Latinos who had earlier described themselves as Democrats or among those who self-identified as Republicans.

"Despite support for Obama among Latinos in 2008 and 2012, affiliation with the Democratic Party remains unstable," wrote the researchers.

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