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Major Media Outlets Agree: Republicans in Free-Fall with Latino Voters

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Leading news outlets, political pundits, and commentators have come to a consensus: the Republican Party is in big trouble with Latino voters, largely because of its mishandling of the immigration issue.  Yesterday, new polling from Fox News Latino documented the extent of the Republicans’ “Latino problem,” triggering a new round of analysis about the potential political consequences this November and for years to come:

  • Fox News Latino Poll: A new Fox News Latino/Latin Insights poll of 1200 likely Latino voters shows, in the words of the accompanying poll recap from Fox News Latino, “that the overwhelming choice among likely Latino voters is President Obama.  In head-to-head match-ups none of the GOP candidates would garner more than 14 percent of the Latino vote come November.”  The poll found that immigration remains a defining, threshold issue for these voters, helping to clarify the distinctions with the GOP presidential field.  As the poll recap states, “Although immigration came in fourth among issues cited as important by likely Latino voters –to jobs and the economy, education, and health care– voter responses on immigration show a wide discrepancy with the positions of GOP hopefuls.  The Fox News Latino poll show likely Latino voters across the country overwhelmingly support the DREAM Act (90 percent), favor a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants (85 percent), and believe undocumented workers help to grow the U.S. economy (82 percent).”
  • Daily Kos: In a post highlighting the new polling numbers, Markos Moulitsas, founder of the largest progressive political blog Daily Kos declares that “Latinos really, really, really really hate Republicans” and states, “Add this to the list of self-inflicted wounds the GOP has suffered during this painful nomination contest: Latinos are tired of Republicans demonizing them, and will vote accordingly.”
  • MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”: On today’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, John Heilemann, reporter for New York Magazine said, “You can’t win the Presidency with 14% of the Hispanic vote.  You can’t.  And that’s what all three of those guys have right now.  Obviously, all of them have worsened their situation with Latino voters over the course of this primary.  They can do some things to fix that, but that is a bad place to be starting from–almost fatal.  If they stay there, it is fatal.”  Host Joe Scarborough followed-up by saying, “You’ve either got to deal with the fastest growing demographic group in American, which will be the largest demographic group in America or you don’t.  You decide.  If you don’t want to deal with Hispanics, Republicans, move to New Zealand because that’s the only place you’re going to win elections in the next 20 years.”

In addition to analysis triggered by yesterday’s polling, a range of other leading outlets have also weighed in with the analysis that the Republicans’ mishandling of the immigration issue will hurt them in November.

  • TIME: The cover story of the March 5th edition of TIME was “Why Latino Voters Will Swing the 2012 Election.”  Among the key points include the assessment that the Republican presidential field “seems to have done everything in their power to alienate these voters, concentrating instead on wooing the more anti-immigration wing of their party.”  The piece quotes Republican pollster Whit Ayers, who warns his allies that “Once any group senses that you really don’t like them and you really don’t want their support, it really doesn’t matter what you say after that.”
  • Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza:  In analysis focused on the Republicans’ move to the ideological right, “The Fix” author Cillizza writes, “The GOP’s problem, according to party insiders, is most evident when it comes to the issue of immigration. All of the major Republican presidential candidates — with the exception of former House speaker Newt Gingrich — have largely rejected the idea of a path to citizenship for the 11 million people in the United States illegally.  That view has contributed to a broader sense among Hispanic voters that the Republican Party is not a friendly place for them. In the 2008 election, President Obama won the Hispanic vote nationwide with 67 percent of the vote. Given that more than half of the total growth in U.S. population over the past decade came in the Hispanic community, Republicans simply can’t afford to keep losing this largest minority group 65 percent to 35 percent and have a fighting chance of winning national elections in four or eight years’ time.”
  • POLITICO: In a late February piece assessing how the Republicans have tacked far right on a number of issues, POLITICO notes of the GOP, immigration, and Latino voters: “While the task of courting Hispanic voters is a long-range project for Republicans, the work has to start in 2012, strategists say, before the party is consigned to oblivion by a group that’s rapidly expanding its political influence.  Just 26 percent of Hispanic voters told NBC pollsters last month that they’d support Romney over Obama…  For Romney — still viewed as the party’s most likely nominee — the goal of reaching Hispanics probably didn’t get any easier Wednesday night, after he praised some of Arizona’s stringent immigration policies as a ‘model’ for the nation.”  The piece also quotes from a number of Republican strategists about the GOP’s mishandling of immigration, including former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie: “‘If the Republican nominee in 2020 gets the same percentage of African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American votes that Sen. McCain got, the Democrat will win by 14 points,’ Gillespie said, adding that without some comprehensive immigration reform deal, ‘it doesn’t mean we can’t grow our share of the Hispanic vote, but it does lower the ceiling of how much we can grow it.’”
  • New York Times: In the paper’s lead editorial from February 21st, entitled “Immigration and the Campaign,” the Times notes of the Republican field, “These candidates have abandoned decades of Republican moderation on immigration, disowning views once held by Ronald Reagan, both Presidents Bush and Congressional Republicans… Poll after poll has shown that the American public supports moderate reform. Many conservatives do, too…But the Republican presidential hopefuls are busy pandering to the far-right voters that dominate the primaries.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Major news outlets and pundits understand what the Republican field fails to grasp – driving to the hard right on immigration will define you and your party to Latino voters and drive them away in droves.  Still, Democrats cannot rely on Republicans’ anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric alone to do their job for them.  In order to maximize turnout from this group, they would be wise to learn from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s big win in 2010 and really lean into the issue.” 

  • A piece from U.S. News and World Report finds room for improvement among both parties with the Latino vote.  After noting that even adding Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to the ticket might not help the Republicans make up much ground among Latino voters, the piece also notes that, “Latinos aren’t so sure Obama understands their issues anymore either.  In 2008, 67 percent of Hispanic voters cast their ballots for President Barack Obama, but Latino enthusiasm for the president has waned.”  The article quotes Louis DeSipio, associate professor of Chicano and Latino Studies at the University of California Irvine, who says, “The Democrats are at risk…there is often rhetoric about the Latino community being a swing electorate.  Where the swing occurs isn’t that they vote for Republicans, but that they swing in and out of the electorate.” 

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.