A new Latino Decisions blog post puts numbers behind the theory that Republicans can gain (or lose) electorally depending on how they handle the upcoming debate in Congress. A recent poll of Latino registered voters asks respondents –in couple of different ways–how their voting behavior would change if the Republican Party took a lead role in supporting common sense immigration reform.
Below find excerpts from the blog post written by Matt Barreto, Principal at Latino Decisions and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington, explaining what the ongoing immigration debate could mean for the GOP’s political prospects (read the blog post in its entirety at Latino Decisions here):
“In a hypothetical election match-up with a Republican candidate who supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, against a Democrat who opposes citizenship and calls it ‘amnesty’ we find that 61% of Obama voters would actually choose the pro-immigration Republican.
“When asked if they would be more or less likely to vote for a Republican candidate in the future if the Republicans take a leadership role in passing comprehensive immigration reform including a pathway to citizenship, we find that 43% of Obama voters say more likely to vote Republican.
“When we explain the current bipartisan efforts in the U.S. Senate with four Republicans working alongside four Democrats, and ask if the Republican commitment to the bipartisan plan makes them more or less likely to vote Republican, we find 26% of Obama voters say they are now more inclined to vote GOP.
“Finally, when we ask Latinos to consider all elections they have voted in for local, state and federal office, and ask if they have ever voted for a Republican candidate we find that 41% of Obama voters say yes, they have voted Republican at some point.
“While there are clear opportunities for the GOP to make gains among Democratically-leaning Latinos, there are also pitfalls if they fail to support immigration reform from within their own ranks. When asked how important it is that Congress passes an immigration reform bill in 2013, 64% of Latino Republicans said “very” or “extremely” important. When given the argument that immigration reform should wait until later and Congress should focus only on the economy now, 69% of Latino Republicans disagreed and said Congress should focus on both immigration reform and the economy right now. Finally, when asked which immigration policy they would prefer, 66% of Latino Republicans said they wanted an immigration plan with a clear pathway to citizenship, and only 32% of Republicans said citizenship should wait until after the border is deemed secure.
“Reports out of Washington suggest the Gang of 8 may have a compromise bill ready by early April, which will no doubt bring tough questions from both the left and the right. As the debate unfolds in both chambers of Congress, the latest polling data on Latino voters is clear – Republicans have the most to gain – and lose – among Latino voters on the issue of immigration reform. Using our online electoral college vote tool developed with America’s Voice Education Fund, we can project presidential outcomes under different scenarios of the Latino vote going more heavily Republican, or staying heavily Democratic as in 2012.
“If a Republican presidential candidate can increase their support from Latinos to an average of 42% nationally, six states would flip from Democrat to Republican (NV, CO, NM, FL, IA, VA), and give the Republican 274 total electoral college votes.
However, if the Republicans do not make gains among Latinos, and stay at the same low levels that they received in 2012 they will lose three large states that voted Republican in 2012 (AZ, TX, NC), due to growth in the Latino vote. In 2012 Latinos accounted for 10% of all voters nationwide, however all projections point to rapid growth in the Latino vote. If the Latino vote grows to 16% of all voters nationwide and the Republicans do not make gains among Latinos, they will lose Arizona, Texas and North Carolina and the Democratic candidate will capture 396 total electoral college votes.”
America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform