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Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos in partnership with Noticias Telemundo; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Opposition among U.S. Latinos to walling off the U.S.-Mexico border is being driven by Mexican Americans and Central Americans, while Puerto Ricans are more ambivalent and a majority of Cuban Americans support the idea, according to the inaugural Axios-Ipsos Latino poll in partnership with Noticias Telemundo.

Why it matters: It's one striking example of the deep divisions among U.S. Latinos on a range of political and cultural issues that break down across geographic and generational lines.

  • The poll also found Latinos broadly support teaching about racism in school — but not if it's described as "critical race theory" — a trigger Republicans may seek to exploit in races around the country next year.

Driving the news: These are among the findings in the first installment of a national poll that examines the political, societal and cultural attitudes of a diverse population comprising nearly one in five Americans in the 2020 census — and about 13% of eligible U.S. voters.

  • COVID-19 and crime or gun violence were the top two concerns for U.S. Latinos, with immigration ranked behind climate change and inflation and supply chain issues.

By the numbers: Nearly three-fourths of Mexican Americans surveyed said they strongly or somewhat oppose the border wall. There are more than 38 million Mexican Americans in the U.S., about 62% of the Latino population.

  • 72% of Central Americans in the U.S. also oppose the wall. In recent years, migrants fleeing violence and poverty in Central America have been the largest group seeking entry via the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • 54% of Cuban Americans in the survey said they strongly or somewhat support a border wall or fence. Cuban Americans comprise about 2 million, or 3.2%, of Latinos in the country but hold disproportionate political power.
  • Nearly 45% of Puerto Ricans said they support a wall. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth — whether they live in the 50 states or in the territory.

Between the lines: For decades, Central American and Mexican immigrants have faced violence along the U.S.-Mexico border from law enforcement agencies and see the wall as a symbol of discrimination.

  • They also been targeted for massive deportation operations in the U.S. that sometimes have wrongly caught up Mexican Americans.
  • Cuban Americans have had an easier path to the U.S. under preferential Cold War-era policies that allow migrants fleeing the socialist country to enter the U.S.

Overall, 68% of all Latinos surveyed said they opposed the border wall.

What they're saying: Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs, said "proximity to the issue" is a major factor in how different groups of Latinos view the wall.

  • "You can think of proximity both in terms of distance and headspace," Young said. "The closer you are to the border the more salient border issues are. But it's also, 'Have I experienced it directly or indirectly?'"

Between the lines: Support for the wall is higher among Latino respondents the longer their families have lived in the U.S., said Ipsos pollster and senior vice president Chris Jackson.

  • The survey found support among 25% of first-generation Americans; 34% among the second-generation; and 43% for third-generation and higher.

But, but, but: The poll also found 68% of respondents support a path to U.S. citizenship for people in the country illegally.

  • Around 60% said they support allowing refugees fleeing crime and violence in Latin America to claim asylum in the U.S.

What we're watching: 69% of Latinos support public schools teaching about the history of slavery and racism.

  • But that drops to 39% when they're asked whether they support teaching critical race theory, highlighting the effect a conservative-led campaign that falsely claims CRT is in schools is having among Latinos.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Latino Poll, in partnership with Noticias Telemundo, was conducted Dec. 2-14, 2021, by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,064 Hispanic/Latino adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.8 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample.

Get more news that matters about Latinos in the hemisphere, delivered right to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sign up for the Axios Latino newsletter.

Editor's note: The article has been corrected to show that 68% of all Latinos surveyed said they opposed the border wall, not 58%.

Go deeper

Latinos y MLK Jr.

Exhibition of Martin Luther King Jr "A dream of equality" at the Museo Memoria y Tolerancia in Mexico City. Photo: Miguel Tovar/LatinContent via Getty Images

The family of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is asking the public not to celebrate the civil activist on MLK Day as Congress stalls on national voting rights protections for Black, Native American and Latino voters.

Why it matters: The King family and other civil rights advocates today see access to the ballot as equally important to all people of color.

Jan 14, 2022 - Politics & Policy

White House criticizes bleak “outlier” Quinnipiac Biden poll

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jennifer O'Malley Dillon speaks with White House counsel Dana Remus last July. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House deputy chief of staff Jennifer O’Malley Dillon is publicly attacking a new poll that gave President Biden a 33% approval rating, using the full weight of her office to call it an “outlier,” according to a memo shared with Axios.

Why it matters: By releasing a memo questioning the Quinnipiac University poll’s methodology, the White House is demonstrating how seriously it takes negative perceptions of the president’s job performance at the outset of a critical midterm year.

Updated 30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers — New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker