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“A Republican Probably Can’t Win Without About 40 percent, Minimum, of the Hispanic And Latino Vote”

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latino vote“A Republican probably can’t win without about 40 percent, minimum, of the Hispanic and Latino vote.” 

You’ve heard that many times from America’s Voice. Now, it’s coming from a leading political pundit, Larry Sabato:

As with many issues, Romney’s stance on immigration during this election seems to differ from positions he’s taken in the past. In 2006, while governor, Romney had said, “I don’t believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from our country.” But his campaign maintains the position is consistent–that Romney believes illegal immigrants should return home before starting down the path to U.S. citizenship.

So why might this haunt Romney in the general election?

“A Republican probably can’t win without about 40 percent, minimum, of the Hispanic and Latino vote,” says Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and a well-respected election prognosticator. Sabato adds that the 2008 GOP nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, tallied only about 31 percent support from this voting bloc in his loss to Obama.

The Latino vote is also not inconsequential because of the growing Hispanic population in a number of swing states, including Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.

Florida and Arizona should also be included as swing states with growing Hispanic populations.

And, as John McCain noted, Texas is heading in that direction, too.

So, again, why do those ugly anti-immigrant positions taken by the GOP candidates hinder their ability to hit that magic 40%? Because immigration matters to Latino voters. As polls consisently show, taking a hardline stance on immigration — and the DREAM Act in particular — will hurt GOP candidates with Latino voters, and is unpopular with the general electorate as well.  Polling from impreMedia and Latino Decisions in February 2011 shows that 58% of all voters support the DREAM Act.  In addition, 84% of Latino voters continue to overwhelmingly support the DREAM Act.

Matt Barreto, Political Science Professor at University of Washington and Principal at Latino Decisions, explained this research yesterday on an press call by noting:

Poll after poll shows that a clear majority of the American public, and over 80% of Latino voters, support passage of the DREAM Act. Governor Romney’s veto comments put him at great risk of alienating Latino voters and Independent voters nationwide.