Posted on November 16, 2011

Poll: Latinos Were Key Factor in Arizona Recall Vote

Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News Latino, November 15, 2011

Latinos were a key factor in the defeat of Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, author of the state’s controversial immigration law, according to a poll taken of voters.

Latinos voters supported Pearce’s challenger, fellow Republican Jerry Lewis, a political newcomer, by a three-to-one margin, according to Project New West, which conducted the poll.

They account for 13 percent of the recall electorate. Lewis won by 53.4 percent to 45.3 percent, a difference of around 1,800 votes.

Lewis told Fox News Latino that he made an extra effort to reach out to Latinos to urge them to vote. He said he often used his rudimentary Spanish to woo them.

“I think we can make a pretty good assumption that the Hispanic vote really made a huge difference in this election,” Lewis, a charter school executive, said in an interview with Fox News Latino. “I did a lot of door-knocking in Hispanic neighborhoods. I went on Hispanic shows.”


Poll respondents who voted against Pearce said they chose to recall the legislator, who was the state Senate President, because they felt that their representatives needed to focus less on immigration and more on jobs and the economy.


The recall election was a first for an Arizona legislator. {snip}

District 18, where the recall election took place, has some 70,000 registered voters. Though exact numbers of people who turned out to the polls were unavailable, those involved in the recall election said that some 4,000 Hispanics requested absentee ballots.

Hispanics make up more than 30 percent of the district’s population, which tends to lean Republican and conservative.


In an essay on the news website Politico on Tuesday, Pearce balked at the notion that his defeat was a rejection of SB1070. He called Lewis victory a sort of fluke.

“I’d be lying if I said I was not extremely disappointed by being voted out in a recall election. I’m sad to go under these circumstances,” Pearce wrote.

“But the truth is–as some political observers acknowledge–I probably wouldn’t have lost the race in a normal election,” he continued. “In my previous race, I won with two-thirds of the vote . . . My Republican opponent was Jerry Lewis, who stated he was opposed to SB1070, supports the DREAM Act and believes illegal aliens do the jobs that Americans won’t.”


The poll found that white voters were split evenly between Pearce and Lewis. Democrats voted overwhelmingly for Lewis, who also got most of the Independents support, according to the poll.


“Before I introduced SB 1070, Arizona political luminaries like Sen. John McCain and Rep. Jeff Flake were leading sponsors of amnesty for illegal immigrants,” Pearce wrote. “But since we passed it, most of our GOP [members of Congress] and senators at least give lip service to supporting patriotic immigration enforcement.

“I have not decided whether or not I will run again for the State Senate, or another office,” Pearce said, and added, “I promise you, though, that I will not retreat from this fight.”