Washington, DC – Last week, Mitt Romney offered a fresh reminder that his pandering to the far right on immigration during the primary season will hurt his potential general election chances. In response to a question in Le Mars, IA, Romney pledged that he would veto a federal DREAM Act if the legislation passed Congress while he was President. His comments were widely reported in Spanish media and put the nail in the coffin of any hope Romney may have had of competing for Latino voters in the general election.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Romney’s comments about the DREAM Act will disqualify him among a large swath of Latino voters throughout the nation. Millions of Latino voters see their own children and family histories in the aspirations and ambitions of the DREAM youth and don’t take kindly to those determined to slam the doors of opportunity in their faces. If he becomes the Republican nominee, Romney will find it virtually impossible to reach the 40% threshold among Latino voters that Republican candidates need to win the White House. This will make it much more difficult for Romney to be competitive in the key swing states of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico .”
Polling from impreMedia and Latino Decisions in February 2011 found that 85% of Latino voters across the political spectrum support the DREAM Act. Matt Barreto of Latino Decisions wrote that, “Looking to 2012, it is clear that immigration and the DREAM Act will still be on the minds of Latino voters…We broke out support for the DREAM Act by intended vote choice in 2012 and found regardless of how Latinos will vote, a very strong majority support the DREAM Act. Among Obama voters, 79% strongly support and 14% somewhat support the DREAM Act – that’s 93% support for seeing this bill passed among the President’s Latino base. Further, among those who say they are undecided 62% strongly support DREAM with 23% somewhat support, all told 85% in favor. Even among those who plan to vote for a GOP candidate in 2012, Republican contenders should take note, that Republican leaning Latinos also supported the DREAM Act by a big margin: 52% strongly support and 23% somewhat support, totaling to 75% approval of the bill.”