If a 2016 presidential candidate wants the Latino vote, he or she will have to support President Obama's executive order on immigration.
That's according to a nationwide poll released by several Latino voter-outreach groups, which asked Latino voters whether they would support Hillary Clinton if she pledged to continue Obama's executive action on immigration and whether they would support her if she pledged not to continue it.
That single issue led to a nearly 50-point swing -- 85 percent said they likely would pick Clinton if she pledged to continue the immigration actions, and 37 percent said they probably would not pick Clinton if she pledged not to continue it.
"This is something that is directly in the lap of the president, because it is a presidential executive action, and so we know that each of the candidates who wants to court the Latino vote in 21016 will have to give an answer to whether or not they will let this policy be renewed," says Matt Barretto, a co-founder of Latino Decisions.
The pollsters didn't test this question on any other candidate, but Latino Decisions found in its polling that immigration is the number-one issue with Latino voters, and they overwhelmingly support Obama's move on immigration.
Obama's executive action could shield more than 4 million people from deportation, and give them authority to work in the United States. However, the move is only temporary and could be undone by the next president.
"The poll results give very clear direction to any presidential candidate in 2016," Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, says in a statement. "It does not matter what party you belong to, or even how friendly you have been with the Latino community in past years. It's not even enough to say that you support the president's use of executive authority. If you want the Latino vote in 2016 -- and you should, if you want to win the White House -- you have to commit to continuing the president's temporary program until Congress passes a long-term solution that is acceptable to Latino voters."
As for Clinton, she's publicly supported Obama's executive action, but that doesn't necessarily guarantee Clinton would get the same level of support at the polls from Latinos as Obama did.
"Hillary Clinton has a huge opportunity -- she has very high name recognition, her general favorability marks among Latinos are very, very high, [and] she has a huge opportunity to improve on the Latino vote that Obama got in either 2008 or 2012," Barretto says."She very realistically has an opportunity to get to the 80 percent mark [of the Latino vote]. But, she has a number of statements about immigration that I'd say she needs to clarify and get on the right side of. What this poll finding shows today is that her position on the executive action is crucial to how Latinos will perceive her."
The poll results can be viewed below:
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