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New Poll Shows That Immigration Is “The Elephant in the GOP Living Room”

by Mahwish Khan on 03/18/2011 at 11:47am

GOP elephant in the roomLast month, Politico cited the problems facing 2012 Republican presidential candidates:

The problem for Republicans is most acute among Hispanics, a pivotal bloc of the electorate in must-have Florida and the West.

The article noted the concerns of GOP pollster’s Whit Ayres about the prospects for his party’s 2012 nominee to engage Latino Voters.  Ayres said that the “most discouraging piece” of data he saw was the GOP’s difficulty with Hispanic voters: 

If we lose the fastest-growing, largest minority group like we lost them in 2008, it’s going to be pretty tough in places like Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona.

Today, Politico reports on new polling of Latinos in California that confirms those fears. There’s not a lot of love for Republicans:

Latino voters across the state hold widely negative views of the Republican Party, according to the survey, which was conducted by a GOP pollster and consultant and conceived as a tool to help the party make inroads with Hispanic voters. Many respondents said they see the GOP as too conservative and don’t trust it on the issue of immigration reform.

And while California won’t likely be in play in the 2012 presidential election, the poll has implications for more competitive Western states where Hispanics’ political voice is growing: Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona.

Republican consultant Marty Wilson, who worked with pollster Bob Moore on the poll, tried hard to find reasons for GOP optimism in the numbers, but acknowledged: “The short answer is, it ain’t going to be easy.

No, it ain’t.

And this key finding is no surprise to us:

Immigration, the poll found, is “the elephant in the GOP living room”: 67 percent of Latinos favored a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, including 51 percent of Latino Republicans.

Asked which party they trusted to reform immigration, 57 percent of those polled said Democrats, versus just 21 percent who trusted Republicans.

As new census numbers reveal the growing population of Latinos, public opinion research continues to show that immigration is increasingly becoming a determinative issue for many Latino voters.  Yet Republicans in the U.S, House, led by Reps. Lamar Smith (TX),  Elton Gallegly (CA) and Steve King (IA) have been engaged in an unrelenting attack on immigrants. They’ve crafted a mass deportation strategy, which they’ve renamed “Attrition Through Enforcement.” Given the state of politics in California, one would think that Gallegly would know better. But, the work of those “Three Amigos” will continue to drive Latinos away from the GOP – for decades to come.

You don’t have to take our word for it, but Republicans have their own polling that proves our point.

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