Thursday, December 29, 2011

Uncertain Hispanic Voters Favor Obama Over GOP Rivals

With Hispanics comprising the fastest growing segment of the nation's population I have often wondered at the Republican Party's concerted effort to alienate Hispanics - as well as younger voters - while kissing the bigoted asses of older white voters. It seems I'm not the only one to have noted the GOP's open hostility to Hispanic voters. Hispanic voters themselves have picked up on the dare we say hatred that is the principal GOP emotion towards Hispanics who seemed to be viewed as if they were all illegal immigrants who sole into America across the Rio Grande. A piece in the Washington Post looks at how the GOP's anti-Hispanic policies are pushing the Hispanic vote to Barack Obama. Here are highlights:

President Obama holds a wide lead among Hispanic voters when matched against potential Republican challengers, even as widespread opposition to his administration’s stepped-up deportation policies act as a drag on his approval ratings among that group, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, revealed a general-election weakness for Republicans among an increasingly influential voting bloc — with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry each winning less than one-fourth of the Hispanic vote in hypothetical matchups against Obama.

The president’s strong position with Latino voters comes even as Hispanic adults overall express disapproval with the way his administration is handling deportations of illegal immigrants, by 59 percent to 27 percent.

The findings suggest major challenges ahead for Republican strategists, many of whom believe the party cannot win the White House unless it slices into Obama’s support among Hispanics.

In the latest available data from Gallup, Obama’s numbers among Hispanics have recovered alongside a rise among the broader public. Fully 60 percent of all Hispanic adults interviewed by Gallup in late December said they approved of Obama’s overall job performance, a high in polls back to May.

[M]any Republican strategists said failing to improve that number in the future could doom Republican presidential contenders in battleground states with fast-growing Hispanic populations, such as Colorado and Florida.

Some Republicans have expressed concerns that Hispanics would feel alienated by hard-line rhetoric against illegal immigration in the GOP primary campaign — particularly from Romney, who has used the issue to attack Perry and former House speaker Newt Gingrich from the right. They worry that the debate might squander an opportunity to take advantage of Obama’s declining support among Hispanics, particularly centrists and conservatives.

The new Pew poll found that immigration is “extremely important” for a third of Hispanic voters, although that issue trails jobs, education, health care, taxes and the federal budget deficit on that list.

Democrats retain a strong advantage when Hispanics are asked which party they identify with, with two-thirds of voters picking Democrats and one-fifth siding with the GOP.

Some Republicans think that tapping Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), a Cuban American son of immigrants, as the party’s vice presidential nominee could offer a quick fix to their Hispanic problem. At the moment, the poll found, Rubio remains largely unknown to Hispanics nationally, with a majority saying they had not heard of him, couldn’t rate him or didn’t know whether they viewed him favorably.

No comments: