Republican Candidates Trailing Obama Among Hispanics By Wide Margin
A new poll shows just how badly the GOP is doing among Hispanic voters.
Fox News Latino is out with a new poll this morning that demonstrates yet again how much trouble the GOP is in among Hispanic voters:
Despite growing disappointment in his handling of immigration issues, Latino voters favor President Barack Obama by six-to-one over any of the Republican presidential hopefuls, showed a Fox News Latino poll conducted under the direction of Latin Insights and released Monday.
The national poll of likely Latino voters indicated that 73 percent of them approved of Obama’s performance in office, with over half those questioned looking favorably upon his handling of the healthcare debate and the economy, at 66 percent and 58 percent respectively.
Released on the eve of the Super Tuesday primaries in the race for the GOP nomination, the Fox News Latino poll shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 35 percent of Latino voter support, to Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s 13 percent, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s 12 percent, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s 9 percent.
But the poll shows 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 said.
“This is what we’re seeing across the country,” said Gabriela Domenzain, Obama campaign spokesperson. “The more Latinos learn about the candidates, the more they reject them.”
Caught-up in the throes of a bitterly contested primary season, the GOP hopefuls seem to be losing traction among Latino voters.
While the poll indicates that four of five Latinos who voted for Obama in 2008 would vote for him later this year, Latinos who voted for Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain four years ago are now divided between voting for Obama and the Republican candidates. Forty percent said that they favored Obama while 38 percent said they would vote for Romney. Obama also leads Santorum 38 percent to 34, and Gingrich 40 percent to 38.
McCain grabbed 31 percent of the overall Hispanic vote.
It’s not all that hard to figure out why this is happening. While there’s no small degree of concern among Hispanics about the economy and the Obama Administration’s own immigration policies, which have included deportations at a rate exceeding that under the Bush Presidency, the offering from the other party isn’t much more palatable. Over the past three years the GOP has been the source of restrictive laws purportedly designed to combat illegal immigration in Arizona, Georgia, and Alabama, each of which has been the source of much consternation and dislocation in the Hispanic communities in those states. Additionally, the Republican candidates for President have spent more than a year now talking far tougher on immigration than Presidential candidates have in the past:
During the February Arizona debate, both Romney and Santorum backed controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and all the candidates said they favored a stricter immigration policy.
Romney said he looked to Arizona’s controversial approach to immigration as a model and added that if he was president he would stop all federal lawsuits against state laws such as Arizona’s SB 1070. He also reaffirmed his support for building a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border and mandating the use of E-Verify to deter undocumented immigrants from finding employment.
Gingrich proposed during the debate the construction of a double fence along the U.S.-Mexico border and the deployment of thousands more Homeland Security Department employees to border areas. Santorum also said that he would beef up efforts to stop undocumented immigrants from entering the country.
The one candidate who occasionally spoke sense about immigration issues, Texas Governor Rick Perry, found his campaign left in tatters after he dared to question the conventional GOP wisdom on the topic. The fact that the hardline position on immigration is, quite clearly, harming the party’s interests not just in 2012 but in the long term doesn’t seem to be occurring to any of these people. As has been noted many times in the past, Hispanics are the fastest growing minority group in the country, if the GOP loses them the way they lost African American voters in the 1960s, then its going to find itself losing ground in states with growing Hispanic populations, which also happen to be states with a lot of Electoral Votes.
One of the results from the poll is likely to give a boost to those in the GOP who have been cheering on the idea of putting Florida Senator Marco Rubio on the ticket. When asked about Vice-Presidential picks, nearly one-third of the Hispanic voters polled said they would consider voting for a Republican candidate for President if their running mate were a Latino on the ticket. There’s a long way to go, of course, from considering voting for a Republican and actually doing so, and putting Rubio or some other Latino on the ticket may end up accomplishing next to nothing in the end.
There are plenty of warning signs for the Republican Party here. The party’s stand on immigration issues may be popular with the base, but it’s killing them among the fastest growing minority group in the country. Because of that, the Obama campaign actually thinks it has a chance to put Arizona in play this year. While that may end up being wishful thinking in the end, it seems all but certain that the GOP will find it difficult to win in states like New Mexico and Colorado if these numbers hold up. California is most certainly gone for the foreseeable future. In future election cycles, numbers like this could mean that even a state like Texas becomes far less GOP friendly than it is today. Do I really need to go on?
John McCain got 31% of the Hispanic vote in 2008. The way things stand right now, any of the Republican candidates would be lucky to get within 5 percentage points of that number in November, and that is going to make it very, very hard for them to unseat the President.