The Republican Party's struggles with Hispanics have been well-documented. Now, a new poll from Gallup shows that it makes little difference whether Latinos living in the U.S. were born in the country or not when it comes to close alignment with the Democratic Party.
Fully 64 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics whose parents were also born in the U.S. identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party -- more than double the percentage (30) that said they identify or lean toward the Republican Party. For Hispanics born outside the U.S., the split is very similar, with 57 percent leaning toward or identifying with the Democratic Party and just 25 percent aligning themselves with the Republican Party.
Hispanics born outside the U.S. are more likely to be independent, the poll shows. But that factor doesn't change the fact that Hispanics have largely aligned themselves with the Democratic Party, regardless of where they were born.
And therein lies one of the political dilemmas for Republicans with regard to immigration reform.
On the one hand, supporting comprehensive reform that includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants would mean legalizing a group of potential voters who have largely lined up against the GOP and joining a cause Democrats have been championing for years and will also take credit for.
On the other, many in the GOP realize it must repair its weak relationship with Hispanics beginning somewhere, and embracing immigration reform seems like a natural place to start.