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.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Campaign 2012, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. superdestroyer says:

    Two points.

    1. Hispanics are the second most liberal group in the U.S. The idea that the Republicans have ever been able to appeal to Hispanics is laughable. When losing the Hispanic vote by only 30 points is considering a victory demonstrates how liberal Hispanic are.

    Also, the Republican Party has been consistently shown as loser in this election cycle and most casual voters do not like the idea of “throw away” their vote on a losing candidate. Add the collapse of the Republican Party along with the Obama Administration proposals to tax the rich (read whites) and there is no way that any Republican can appeal to Hispanic. Thus, Hispanic will continue to lean even more liberal.

    2. Rick Perry did not make sense. The Republicans in Texas has thrived because the vast majority of whites in Texas vote Republicans. Moving to the left to pander to Hispanics will lose more white votes than it would ever gain with Hispanic voters. Idiot Republicans keep thinking that social conservative white will treat the Republicans like black voters treat the Democratic Party. In that idea, Perry, the Bush Clan, and Karl Rove are wrong.

  2. Stephen H. Savage says:

    “The one candidate who occasionally spoke sense about immigration issues, Texas Governor Rick Perry, found his campaign left in taters after he dared to question the conventional GOP wisdom on the topic.”

    Taters? Really? What’s taters, Precious?

  3. @Stephen H. Savage:

    Heh yes. Well, that’s been fixed but it does bring to mind the similarities between Rick Perry and a certain former Vice President

  4. Latino_in_Boston says:

    Two points.
    1) It’s ironic that the GOP has spent so much effort with these laws when immigration–both legal and illegal–is right at the moment at its lowest point it’s been in decades. Demographic trends in Mexico also show that migration from that country will not return to what it was in the 1990s. In other words, they’re condemning themselves to losing a huge voting block for the foreseeable future with nothing to show for it. There’s no problem, GOP, you’re just scaring people into thinking there is.

    I almost forgot though, what if Hezbollah sneaks right in through Tijuana?

    2) Rubio on the ticket is not going to all of a sudden change the electoral math. It might make a difference in Florida, but nowhere else. Didn’t the Republicans learn their lesson with Palin? Putting someone of the same gender, ethnicity as us, but who favors none of the policies we would prefer is not going to make us vote for them.

  5. superdestroyer says:

    @Latino_in_Boston:

    Republicans cannot lose votes that they never had. And it is more than illegal immigrants from Mexico. There is also central and south america.

    Maybe there are enough Republicans who realize that a country cannot have open borders along with high levels of government entitlements. Maybe there are enough Republicans who realize that a country cannot have quotas, set asides, and affirmative action for more than 50% of the population.

  6. Hey Norm says:

    Another day and the Republican party becomes just that more irrelevant.

  7. @superdestroyer:

    1. Hispanics are the second most liberal group in the U.S. The idea that the Republicans have ever been able to appeal to Hispanics is laughable. When losing the Hispanic vote by only 30 points is considering a victory demonstrates how liberal Hispanic are.

    Except Hispanics are actually one of the most conservative groups in the US.

  8. Kylopod says:

    >The idea that the Republicans have ever been able to appeal to Hispanics is laughable.

    Bush got 44% of the Hispanic vote in 2004, roughly comparable to what Democrats usually get of the white vote. Doesn’t exactly sound futile to me.

  9. Davebo says:

    Don’t feed the Superdestroyer guys.

  10. Rob in CT says:

    This post was supe bait.

  11. PD Shaw says:

    @superdestroyer: “Hispanics are the second most liberal group in the U.S.”

    Hispanics are young, less economically secure, and Catholic; if you control for these variables they are moderately more Democratic than a similarly situated white demographic. They won’t always be young, and won’t necessarily always be economically disadvantaged.

  12. James says:

    Well, you reap what you sow. Remember the conservative attacks against Sonia Sotomayor? I’m sure Hispanic activists sure do:

    John Derbyshire, writing on National Review Online in early May, commented, “Judge Sotomayor may indeed be dumb and obnoxious; but she’s also female and Hispanic, and those are the things that count nowadays.”

    I’d also like to second Davebo’s plea. Anyone who writes “Hispanics are the second most liberal group in the U.S.” is clearly just trolling.

  13. PD Shaw says:

    The Republican problem isn’t anti-immigration:

    But it would be almost impossible today to find a Hispanic immigrant who has even heard of Proposition 187. Jim Tolle, pastor of one of the largest Hispanic churches in Southern California, La Iglesia En El Camino, says that his congregation knows nothing about Prop. 187. The fact is that Hispanic skepticism toward the Republican Party derives as much from its perceived economic biases as from Republicans’ opposition to illegal immigration and amnesty. A March 2011 poll by Moore Information asked California’s Latino voters why they had an unfavorable view of the Republican Party. The two top reasons were that the party favored only the rich and that Republicans were selfish and out for themselves; Republican positions on immigration law were cited less often.

    The Republican’s problem is that the brand of compassionate conservativism that GWBush promoted is out of favor in the party, both in its fiscal libertarian and populist wings. And that’s the brand most attractive to hispanic voters.

  14. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    Hard to believe that Romney will do much worse than McCain’s 31% take from 2008, but if that poll even is in the ballpark of being accurate that’s a distinct possibility.

    Certainly the GOP has shot itself in the foot regarding the Latino demographic, but the elephant in the room here is the extent to which the media and the Democrat Party have been successful with their cynical strategy of identity politics. Think about it. Despite all of the Republican self-inflicted wounds it’s absurd that Latinos are moving towards a lock-step vote in favor of Democrats. Latinos are hard working, business savvy, family oriented and on several hot button issues socially conservative. They’re a natural fit for Republicans. It would be one thing if they were breaking 55-45 in favor of Democrats. But 75-25 or worse is beyond the pale, notwithstanding the Tom Tancredos and the Mike Pences of the world.

    I have to give credit where credit is due. Busing in large numbers of protesters to those immigration rallies was great theatre. It conveyed an us vs. them feel, which is the sine qua non of identity politics. The media has been brilliant in a Machiavellian sense by shading their coverage. After nearly a decade of agenda journalism the end result is that the Democrats are perceived as pro-Latino whereas Republicans are perceived as anti-Latino, despite the ironic reality that Team Obama has cracked down on illegal immigrants in ways that would have made the Bush 43 administration blush.

    I can’t admire left-wing tactics, but given that politics is a rough business I do admire the left’s ruthlessness.

    Lastly, putting aside the why’s and the wherefore’s, this obviously is a major problem for Republicans. It’s difficult to envision a viable solution. Once identity politics sets in it’s like corruption in a local government: everyone knows it’s there but still it’s nearly impossible to remove.

  15. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II:

    You Hispanics out there aiming to vote for the Dems are deluded. Sure the GOP has led a scorched earth campaign in Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama that has made you not just feel unwelcome, but which has actively discriminated against you regardless of your immigration status. And sure, we have specifically conflated Latinos with illegal aliens (as the congressman in Alabama who cited Hispanic growth to prove his point about illegal immigration growth in the state). And of course, the GOP luminaries spoke badly about Sotomayor and her “affirmative action” status. And I’ll grant you that both of our frontrunners have promoted an expansion of the Arizona model and in the case of Romney specifically promised to veto the Dream Act–a tiny, modest improvement to allow a few thousand of our best and brightest to adjust their immigration status. And yes, the GOP offers zero solutions to your problems in education, health care, jobs or really much of anything you care about. But you and I both know that the only reason you’re voting for the Dems is because they’re so much better with “optics”. They sure do know how to dupe you with those identity politics. Why do you have to be so stupid? Vote Republican!

    *Sigh*

  16. PD Shaw says:

    @Latino_in_Boston:Rubio opposes the Dream Act, as do many Midwest Democrats.

    The cold calculas is this; the G.O.P. nationally can pick up more votes in Midwest swing states from Iowa to Ohio with an anti-immigration stand without much risk, as long as they don’t swing so far as to lose Florida, which is unique because of its Cuban population.

  17. PD Shaw says:

    anti-immigration stand = anti-illegal immigration stand

    Easy to mistype; often hard to navigate.

  18. Angel says:

    Hispanic values are Faith Family Hard work, Progress and Friendship , Immigration is at this country everything , from day one , the only answer to them is discrimination, and rhetoric from GOP and Congress

  19. Scott O. says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II: That’s the typical GOP argument. Hispanics, Blacks, Jews, women, young people, etc. would all be voting Republican but they’ve been brain washed. If only they were as smart as you they would realize that and stop voting for the Democrats who are actually making their lives worse. Keep telling yourself that.

  20. Dave Anderson says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II: Tsar — you complain about a liberal media plot and Democratic identity politics to get Latinos to vote en bloc for Democrats despite what you contend are favorable issue positions for Republicans:

    Latinos are hard working, business savvy, family oriented and on several hot button issues socially conservative. They’re a natural fit for Republicans. It would be one thing if they were breaking 55-45 in favor of Democrats. But 75-25 or worse is beyond the pale

    Let me tell you about a friend of mine. He’s white, in his mid-30s, raised Catholic, still goes to church at least two or three times a month, makes 150K a year in a conservative leaning field, and his spouse makes another 80K a year. He worries about taxes, and is personally anti-abortion but temperamentally live and let live so only “it’s icky” abortion restrictions might get his support.

    Sounds like either a Republican or a swing voter.

    No way in hell. I left out one salient fact. He’s gay. He has voted for one Republican in the past two decades, and that was for a county sheriff position because the incumbent Democrat was crooked as hell and indictments were anticipated on election day.

    Sure, the Republicans offer him several attractive positions except for the fact that they have been railing against a core component of his being as intrinsically evil and the source of all of America’s problems. He has been told by the modern GOP that he is not wanted in that party, and he votes accordingly.

    Latinos have been getting the same message….

  21. anjin-san says:

    It’s ironic that the GOP has spent so much effort with these

    I guess it slipped their minds that a lot of the scary brown people is this country vote, as opposed to the scary brown people that live in other countries.

    Fear and anger are all the GOP has left. That’s the American dream they are peddling in the 21st century. Well, fear, anger, and tax cuts for the rich.

  22. Brummagem Joe says:

    @PD Shaw:

    The Republican problem isn’t anti-immigration:

    Yeah right. I wonder where all these hispanics got that crazy idea from. LOL.

  23. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II:

    I can’t admire left-wing tactics, but given that politics is a rough business I do admire the left’s ruthlessness.

    Oh boy… the martyr of Ekaterinburg is now whining about Republican victimisation by stormtrooper Democrats. It really hard to make up how fatuous some of these clowns can be at times. This is a script worthy of Colbert.

  24. Brummagem Joe says:

    and that is going to make it very, very hard for them to unseat the President.

    I can’t remember who it was but a few months back some Republican strategist published a piece claiming that unless nationally Republicans can get close to 40% of the hispanic vote it’s virtually impossible for then to win a presidential election. No idea whether it’s true or not but that a Republican said it is not without significance.

  25. PJ says:

    @Latino_in_Boston:

    Rubio on the ticket is not going to all of a sudden change the electoral math. It might make a difference in Florida, but nowhere else.

    Since Rubio was raised a Mormon, I’m guessing that a Romney-Rubio ticket would make difference in a lot of places. A negative difference that is…

  26. sam says:

    And we haven’t even gotten to the women’s vote…

  27. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @PJ:

    Since Rubio was raised a Mormon, I’m guessing that a Romney-Rubio ticket would make difference in a lot of places. A negative difference that is…

    I suppose that’s possible.

    Although I would think it would make much more of a difference within the “birther” camp. Joseph Farah, the “birther-in-chief” and WND editor, predicted that the GOP ticket would lose as much as 10% of the vote because they would be picking a non-eligible candidate on Hannity. I think that’s pure lunacy, but it might, in fact, make enough change at the margins perhaps eschewing any potential gains among Latinos.

  28. mantis says:

    The Republican’s problem is that the brand of compassionate conservativism that GWBush promoted is out of favor in the party

    Actually, compassion itself is out of favor with the GOP. They are the party of punishment for political enemies, and nothing else. Nothing at all.

  29. David M says:

    I think the GOP Presidential candidates are being dragged down by Congress as well. Oppose everything and make Obama look bad does have it’s upside for the GOP, but when it includes opposing even watered down versions of the Dream Act, it’s a good thing for everyone that there might be consequences.

  30. Brummagem Joe says:

    I think Galbraith’s aphorism about the receptiveness of conservatives to change pretty well sums up their hispanic problem….

    Ideas are inherently conservative. They yield not to the attack of other ideas but to the massive onslaught of circumstance with which they cannot contend.

  31. Scott O. says:
  32. JohnMcC says:

    Mr Mataconis refers to the loss to the Republican party of the African-American voting block and the way that the Hispanic vote is clustered in a few states that could tip national elections. Here are two data points:

    1st that African-Americans were once a reliably Republican voting bloc. Their transition to the Democrats was begun (as with so many low-income voters) with the New Deal. But in the South, because the old Southern Aristocrats (think Strom Thurmon) were Democrats, blacks in the South voted Republican until the Southern Strategy era. Eisenhower got 40% of the black vote in ’56. GWBush got 11% in ’04.

    And in Texas there is a ‘spread’ of about 8% between the ‘white’ population and the ‘hispanic’ (37.6% v 45.3% according to 2011 ‘Texas Quickfacts). Can anyone imagine a Republican party capable of winning a national election without Texas?

    This is the kind of demographic suicide that the so-called-conservatives have planned for the Republican party.

  33. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @JohnMcC:

    And this is what I just don’t understand. Why go out of their way to piss off Latinos? Are they really trying to lose Texas too (like they did California?).

  34. An Interested Party says:

    And this is what I just don’t understand. Why go out of their way to piss off Latinos? Are they really trying to lose Texas too (like they did California?).

    Oh c’mon…fighting for racism, er, “principles” should always trump winning elections…

  35. superdestroyer says:

    @Scott O.:

    Actually it makes sense that Hispanics, blacks, homosexuals, and single women vote for the Democrats. Those groups want a bigger government, more entitlements, more spending, and more government jobs. In addition, those groups operate from the idea that others will pay the taxes required to fund the government.

    It makes sense that Hispanics are very loyal Democratic Party voters. The real question is what happens when blacks, Hispanics, single women get everything they want and income taxes have to double or more to pay for it. How will middle class, married whites adapt to the coming one party state. Who will be the winners and losers in the coming high-spending, big government one party state.