This post has been updated.
A new survey released Monday shows President Obama and Senate candidate Timothy M. Kaine with commanding leads among Latino voters in Virginia, giving the two Democrats a key advantage in races that are likely to go down to the wire.
The poll, conducted by Latino Decisions for America’s Voice — a pro-immigration reform group, shows Obama leading Mitt Romney (R) among Latino registered voters in the commonwealth, 66 percent to 22 percent. Obama got 65 percent of the Virginia Latino vote in 2008, according to exit polls.
The survey also shows Kaine ahead of fellow former governor George Allen (R) among Latinos in their U.S. Senate contest, 64 percent to 24 percent. The poll results come as Kaine’s campaign released its third Spanish-language TV and radio ad, “Soy Virginia,” which includes Kaine speaking Spanish to the camera. (Kaine spent time in Honduras as a Catholic missionary.
“Some believe that cultural diversity could harm Virginia’s progress, but I believe our state is stronger because of our diversity,” Kaine says in the ad, according to a translation provided by his campaign. “I will fight to create new opportunities for all of us, because we are all Virginia.”
Allen’s campaign said Virginia Latinos had been hit hard by Democrats’ poor performance on jobs and the economy.
“As the son of an immigrant, George Allen understands firsthand how America’s diversity has strengthened and improved our country,” said Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis. “George Allen believes America must remain a land of equal opportunity for all – opportunities that Latinos especially have seen diminished under the economic policies of President Obama and Tim Kaine.”
The Latino Decisions survey included questions about Obama’s decision to stop the deportation of young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children, finding that Virginia Latinos were more inclined to support Obama (and Kaine) because of their position on the issue.
The poll also found that 66 percent of respondents said they personally know someone who is an undocumented immigrant, and that a slim majority picked immigration as the most important issue for Congress and the president to address, narrowly edging out jobs and the economy.
Roughly 8 percent of Virginia residents are of Hispanic or Latino origin, according to Census data.
The Latino Decisions poll surveyed 400 Latino registered voters, some in English and some in Spanish, Oct. 4-11. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percent.