The Arizona immigration law is popular with Americans, but Latinos are shifting quickly to the Democratic party, according to a new NBC/Telemundo poll.

Sixty-one percent of respondents favor the Arizona law. In a hypothetical matchup, a Republican in favor of the law beats a Democrat opposed to it, 40 percent to 26 percent.

But the immigration debate has pushed Latinos into the Democratic column. They view Dems favorably by a 54 percent to 21 percent margin, compared to a brutal 22 percent approval rating for the GOP.

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What’s more, Latinos think Democrats would do a better job than Republicans in protecting the interests of minorities (by 58%-11%), in representing the opportunity to move up the economic ladder (46%-20%), in dealing with immigration (37%-12%), and in promoting strong moral values (33%-23%). The only advantage they gave Republicans was in enforcing security along the border (31%-20%). And Latinos remain a sleeping -- yet growing -- political giant: 23% of them aren’t registered voters (compared with 12% of whites and 16% of blacks) [...]