Politics Magazine

Hispanic Vote - A GOP Missed Opportunity

Posted on the 12 August 2013 by Jobsanger
Hispanic Vote - A GOP Missed Opportunity
Hispanic Vote - A GOP Missed Opportunity The charts above were made from information contained in the recent Gallup Poll (conducted between June 13th and July 5th of 1,000 Hispanic voters nationwide -- with a 6 point margin of error). They show the corner that the Republicans have painted themselves into with Hispanic voters.
First let me define some terms:
1st generation -- those voters born in another country.
2nd generation -- voters born in the U.S. who have one or both parents born in another country.
3rd generation+ -- voters born in the U.S. whose parents were also born here. Many of these voters have families that have lived in the U.S. for many generations.
In the top chart, we can see that the number of people who identify as Democrats far outnumbers the number identifying as Republicans -- but there is a significant portion of the Hispanic electorate who consider themselves to be Independents. In the second chart, those who admit to leaning toward one party or the other have been included in that party's totals, and only true Independents are listed as such.
That second chart shows the reality currently facing the Republican Party. In the 2012 election, the Republican candidate got only about 27% of the Hispanic vote, while the Democratic candidate got over 70% of that vote. That has to change, since the Hispanic portion of the electorate is growing fast and the White portion of the electorate is shrinking with each election. And that change is possible. Note that George Bush got around 40% of the Hispanic vote, and that was enough to let him squeak out a win. That means the GOP wouldn't necessarily have to get a majority of Hispanic votes to be viable nationally, but they do have to do significantly better than 27%.
None of this comes as a revelation. Even the national leadership of the party knows this and wants to change. They wanted to start by supporting immigration reform -- an issue very important to most Hispanic voters. But the party's base was not ready for change, and the Republicans in Congress care more about their own re-election than the future of their party, so they went along with the base -- and are killing any prospect for immigration reform. Too many are listening to the teabagger leaders, who say Hispanics are just going to vote Democratic anyway, so why let immigrants become citizens (or make it easier for Hispanics to vote).
But those teabaggers are wrong. There is an opportunity for the Republicans among Hispanic voters. Note the two charts below. I just put the Independent voters in the Republican column to show the potential for Republicans among Hispanics. Note that even if we give the Democrats all their leaners, there is still a potential for Republicans to do as well as George Bush did (36% among 3rd generation voters, 40% among 2nd, and 41% among 1st). Note that the greatest opportunity resides with 1st and 2nd generation voters -- the very people the Republicans are trying to keep from voting. Does that make sense?
But it could be a lot better. The truth is that leaners are not hardcore party voters, but Independents who have been pushed toward one party or the other. These leaners would love to be true Independents, and have a real choice when they go to the polls on election day. And chart two below shows the real potential for Republicans, when leaners are put back as Independents. Note that the potential Republican vote goes up sharply (56% among 3rd and 2nd generation voters, and 64% among 1st generation voters).
Hispanic Vote - A GOP Missed Opportunity
Hispanic Vote - A GOP Missed Opportunity The teabaggers have their heads up their rear ends to give away Hispanic voters to the Democrats. There is a real opportunity for Republicans in the Hispanic community. But that opportunity will not become a reality until the party puts their bigots on the sidelines, and show they have the best interests of all citizens (including Hispanics) in mind. Hispanic voters are not stupid. They know who supports them and who opposes them -- and they will vote for the party that will give them (and their children) the best opportunity to succeed.
Right now, the Republicans are throwing away a golden opportunity -- and unless they change, they will be less viable as a national party with each passing election. The question is -- how long will it take them to realize this?

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