How do you say debt ceiling in Spanish? How about border security or sequester?
It's a question being asked more often by Republican lawmakers, who are eager to reverse years of declines in Hispanic support. It's also the subject of a story in Monday's Washington Post that explores how House Republicans are making a bigger effort to use Spanish-language media to share the GOP message.
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.
The Republican National Committee's "Growth and Opportunity Project", a 100-page autopsy of what went wrong in 2012, is an attempt to re-start a party that has stalled out nationally -- having come up short in consecutive presidential elections and having suffered popular vote defeats in four out of the last five contests.
Two things are true of Republicans' courtship of minorities at the moment.
1. There are more prominent minority lawmakers in the GOP than in the Democratic Party.
2. Republicans still do very poorly among minority voters.
Come January, Republicans will have at least as many minority senators as Democrats and will have four minority governors to Democrats' one.
The Senate appointment of Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) on Monday mean that, at least for now, the GOP will have three incoming minority senators, and Democrats will have two or three (depending on who is appointed to Inouye's seat, though it seems likely to be another minority candidate).
A coalition of conservative groups is releasing a major study of Latino voters in four key states this morning, and Republicans would be wise to heed its lessons.
Resurgent Republic and the Hispanic Leadership Network are presenting the findings of their study at 9 a.m. Eastern. The polls of Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada show Republicans remain in contention for as many as half of Latino voters in those four states in 2016, but fewer than one-quarter of Latinos in each state say they are likely to vote Republican four years from now.
Mitt Romney has found himself in the middle of the kind of controversy that is supposed to abate after a campaign. On a call with donors Wednesday, he blamed his loss on "gifts" -- in the form of official policies -- that President Obama bestowed on important voter blocs.
Most everybody agrees that Obama's decision to exempt young illegal immigrants from deportation helped him win a massive victory among Latinos. But Romney's inartful comment about "gifts" belies a more serious long-term problem for the GOP in appealing to Latinos.
Poll after poll shows a strong majority of Americans see President Obama as a supporter of big government. And Republicans think this is a message that works for them, because a strong majority of Americans oppose bigger government.
But among a very key group of voters, Obama’s message of a bigger role for government appears to be having a real effect in swaying public opinion: Latinos.
President Obama’s announcement of his support for relaxed enforcement of immigration laws on young illegal immigrants has not provided any lift for him on the issue according to the new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
His approval rating on dealing with immigration issues is no better (nor worse) than it was two years ago, and he runs evenly with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on who people trust to handle the issue. Fewer than one in five voters — 18 percent — say immigration is an extremely important issue in their vote.
New data from an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll that show President Obama leading former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney by 34 points among Hispanics set off a new round of speculation about whether Republicans can win in November if they can’t narrow that margin.
And rightfully so. But focusing just on 2012 actually underestimates the depth of the political problem for Republicans when it comes to the Hispanic community.
In short: Republicans’ Hispanic problem didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be able to fix it overnight either. That means that regardless of what happens in 2012, Republicans need to find ways to begin growing their support among Hispanics, or they run the risk of struggling to build majority national coalitions in 2016, 2020 and beyond.
Once thought to have a potential liability in appealing to Hispanics, Mitt Romney appears to have overcome his doubters.
One of Romney’s more remarkable turnarounds in the Florida primary between 2008 and 2012 was among the state’s many Hispanic voters. While he increased his vote share overall by 15 points, from 31 percent to 46 percent, he increased his performance among Hispanics by 40, from 14 percent in 2008 to 54 percent on Tuesday, according to exit polls.
That’s a pretty huge improvement, but how much does it mean going forward?