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Just a few days after the Senate passed historic immigration legislation, on a webinar / press call today Latino Decisions and America’s Voice released the latest in a series of polls that shows the opportunities and challenges for the GOP as the party of Reagan tries to repair its image with Latinos.
This poll of Latino presidential voters—people who have voted in the past two presidential elections and are extremely likely to turn out in 2016—shows that the Republican Party cannot win the threshold 38-42% of Latino voters that it needs to be competitive in a national election unless and until they exercise leadership in Congress and get the immigration issue off the table.
Matt Barreto, Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Washington and Principal, Latino Decisions said, “Latino presidential voters are very persuadable, depending on what the candidates say and do on immigration reform. Most notably, the data make clear that Marco Rubio has a huge opportunity to win a big share of the Latino vote, but he must demonstrate leadership on immigration reform and not let it falter in the House.”
Among the poll’s highlights:
Said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
There’s a growing debate in Republican circles on the impact of the immigration reform debate on the GOP’s future. Some, like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, argue that passing immigration reform is the key to regaining electoral competitiveness with Latino voters. There’s another school of thought that says Hispanic voters don’t matter much to the GOP’s future, therefore immigration reform is not necessary and the key is for the GOP is to mobilize more white voters. The data released today, however, comes down squarely on the McCain/Graham side of the argument. If GOP contenders such as Marco Rubio help pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship, their chances of winning the 40% or more of the Latino vote improve considerably, and 40% is what George Bush won on his way to re-election just nine years ago. The opposite is also clear: if the GOP contenders are associated with the defeat of immigration reform, their chances of losing a larger share of the Latino vote increase as well.