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Clinton tops among Hispanics in 2016 poll; GOP's fate hinges on immigration

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Looking ahead to the 2016 presidential election, a new poll shows that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the clear favorite among Hispanic voters and that none of the likely GOP nominees have enough support from Latinos to win the White House — though they have a chance to make up ground by supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

The Latino Decisions poll shows that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida fares best among likely Republican presidential contenders. Respondents give him a 31 percent favorability rating and rank him first among six possible GOP nominees — a list that includes former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Rep. Paul Ryan, the party’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former  Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Immigration Reform

Mr. Santorum has the worst favorability rating and ranks last among the six possible contenders, putting him a notch below Mr. Paul.

Mrs. Clinton, meanwhile, holds a 73 percent favorability rating and Vice President Joe Biden runs second with 58 percent — putting them well ahead of their Republican counterparts.

The poll analysis points out that President George W. Bush carried the New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Florida and Virginia and won 40 percent of the Latino vote when he was re-elected in the 2004 election.

“None of the leading GOP challengers is currently at the 38-42 percent threshold needed to win,” the poll found.

The survey, though, suggests that that could change because there are more Latinos tuned into the immigration debate — making it a bigger factor in how they will vote in the next presidential election.

The poll shows that 54 percent of respondents said that they would be more likely to vote for Mr. Rubio if he helps pass a bill with a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.

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But his support drops if he backs away from the bill and calls for more border security, with 65 percent saying that they are not likely to vote for him in that scenario.

The poll of 1,200 Latinos carries a margin of error or plus or minus 2.8 percent.

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