On Tuesday, the Pew Hispanic Center released a new report which reveals the extent to which the Republican party has managed to alienate the fastest growing voter group in the U.S.
Pew found that 65% of registered Latino voters will support Democrats in the upcoming midterms, while only 22% say they will vote Republican. That means that despite the Democrats’ total inability to govern, they will maintain their lopsided advantage among Latino voters. In 2008, President Obama managed to knock off Senator McCain 67%-31% within the demographic.
The poll numbers make it clear that Hispanic voters really dislike the Republican Party. Fortunately for Republicans, Hispanic voters also seem remarkably apathetic about showing up at the ballot box in order to make their voices heard. Only 51% of registered Latino voters responded that they are “absolutely certain” that they will cast a ballot come November. This response demonstrates that as a community, Latino voters continue to punch significantly below their weight at the polls (70% of all registered voters say that they are “absolutely certain” they will cast a ballot in November).
The Democrats’ lopsided advantage amongst Hispanics won’t hurt so badly this election cycle, except in big (and diverse) states like California; but it will in election cycles not so far down the road if the GOP does not take notice of this troubling trend and act to reverse it.
There can be little doubt that Republicans nationwide are cognizant of the Latino voter’s propensity to stay home on Election Day. If more Latinos voted, we would hear less praise of Arizona’s laws and less talk of rounding up illegals and less talk of the need to restrict education and basic social services to those that cannot prove their citizenship. But at the moment, the Latino community doesn’t show up and thus many Republicans feel free to score political points on the issue of immigration.
In the short run, this may help the Republican party win elections, but the Latino community is growing fast. It may be good politics for many Republicans to ignore Latino voters today, but there will come a day when Hispanic voters do make themselves heard. What is good politics today will haunt the GOP tomorrow. Win or lose, a large group of people does not like us and Republicans had better set about addressing this problem sooner rather than later. Otherwise, there will be far fewer election cycles in which Republicans beam with the sort of optimism that pervades the party leadership today.
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