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ICYMI: Relentless Growth of Latino Voters Bad News for the GOP

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Greg Sargent Uses New Analysis to Show How Republican Opposition to Immigration is Threatening the Republican Party’s Future

In a piece titled, “Why Republicans should embrace immigration reform, in one chart,” Greg Sargent of the Washington Postpresents a new analysis by Michael McDonald at the United States Elections project that highlights how relentless demographics are reshaping the electorate in an increasing number of swing states.

Using the latest available Census data, McDonald finds that between the 2012 and 2016 elections the number of eligible Latino voters will rise by two percentage points in Florida, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona, and by one percentage point in Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina.  As Latino Decisions found in recent analysis and projections of Latino voters in Texas and Arizona, Republicans’ path to victory will continue to narrow in many purple and red states if they continue to poll at current low levels of Latino voter support.

Read Sargent’s piece, excerpted below:

“GOP pollster Whit Ayres, who favors reform, tells me Republicans should take the two point rise in critical swing states very seriously.

‘It’s significant,’ Ayres says. ‘Some aspects of the future are difficult to see clearly.  The increasing proportion of Hispanics in the electorates in key swing states is not one of them.’

‘Swing states are by their very definition closely contested,’ Ayres continues. ‘Many of them have been won in close races by only a percentage point or two.  Changing the demographics of the state by two percentage points puts a finger on the scale in each of the swing states for the party that’s doing well among Hispanics.  This underscores the critical importance for Republican candidates to do better among nonwhite Americans, particularly among Hispanics, if Republicans ever hope to elect another president.’

Ayres adds that the one-point rises also matter.  ‘It is a sign of things to come,’ he said. ‘States that have been comfortably red, like Georgia and North Carolina, are changing, and will become swing states unless Republicans figure out how to win significant support in the Hispanic community.’

Jennifer Duffy, who analyses Senate races for the non-partisan Cook Political Report, says such changes could even impact 2016 Senate contests.  Even if Republicans win a slim Senate majority this year, Cook projects that in 2016, Republicans will be on defense in many more races, amid a more diverse presidential year electorate.  There will be contested races in Florida (Marco Rubio); North Carolina (Richard Burr), and possibly Arizona (especially if John McCain retires).

‘In 2016, Republicans have to defend pretty hostile territory, and the fact that it’s a presidential year will only make it worse,’ Duffy tells me.  ‘All of that could be made much more serious if Republicans don’t address immigration in some way.  In a lot of these states, if Republicans win on the strength of the white vote, they may not be able to count on that again in 2016.  This is true for even someone like Marco Rubio. The longer Republicans stall on immigration, the harder it is going to be for them.’