Republicans are winning the Latino vote because the future is on the ballot
It’s a simple strategy, the old “look both ways before crossing the street” approach when it comes to Republican outreach to Latinos. But there are real consequences for this policy: A Pew Research Center poll found that Republicans are losing their Latino support, because the GOP has failed to communicate the policies supported by the party in the community.
“Republicans may be at the height of their power, but they still have a ways to go if they want to maintain and grow that support,” said Pablo de la Vega, a political science professor at the University of Texas-Pan American. “To win the Latino vote, Republicans cannot afford to lose it.”
President Bush was the first GOP candidate to speak about his party’s outreach efforts to Latinos. His 2008 presidential campaign focused on his support for immigration reform, and last week, he proposed some of the same principles in his own State of the Union address.
But there’s actually been a lot of work done to turn out Latino voters in the GOP primary election, and it’s likely that they will return this fall in force to help the party beat back the Democratic nominee.
“The Democrats are playing a hard-fought game, and they have a superior organization and record to draw on,” said George Gascón, who teaches political science at the University of Southern California. “It will be very difficult for their party to pull off a comeback even if they do as well as they have done in the past in the Latino community.”
The Latino vote matters, because polls show that Republicans are in the driver’s seat of the entire presidential-election process — a fact that could play a role in the outcome. The Pew Research Center poll, for example, found that 48 percent of Latinos supported the GOP in the primaries, with 38 percent favoring Democrats. In the general election, though, the numbers flip. Only 34 percent of Latinos supported the GOP primary, and 61 percent backed the Democratic winner.
“A huge part of the problem to winning the Latino vote will be the president’s reelection,” Gascón