Latinos in the United States are a diverse community, but Republicans have found a powerful common denominator that has created a strong sense of unity among Latinos. Message: Tell Latinos we simply don't want you around these parts. For their efforts, especially efforts to block immigration reform and their xenophobic rhetoric during the GOP presidential primaries, both the Republican standard-bearer, former Governor Mitt Romney, and many candidates throughout the United States were soundly repudiated by Latinos.
We analyzed a large sample of Latinos who took Zogby Polls in 2012 -- 2,246 voters -- which gave a close look at who Latino voters were this year. Two in three identified themselves as Democrat and only 19 percent Republican, just 6 points more than those who said they were independents. During prior elections, most polls showed that about 40 percent considered themselves to be conservative. In our 2012 sample, that percentage dropped to just 21 percent, in contrast to 40 percent each who called themselves liberal or moderate; reflecting a significant shift from conservative to moderate. One in four (23 percent) supported the Tea Party, but 34 percent identified with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
While 43 percent of non-Latino voters are under 50 years of age, 79 percent of Latinos are under 50. About half of Latinos (49 percent) are under 35 in contrast to just 25 percent of non-Latinos. Two in three (63 percent) of Latino Protestants consider themselves evangelical or "born-again" and 60 percent of this group voted for President Obama's reelection. Latinos have a married to single ratio similar to non-Latinos, but 52 percent have children under 17 living at home -- in sharp contrast to 32 percent of non-Latinos. One in four (26 percent) live in union households, while 15 percent of non-Latinos do.
Eighteen percent live in households where there is a member of the military; only 7 percent of non-Latinos do. One in four (25 percent) are fans of NASCAR, 22 percent of non-Latinos. Thirty-percent shop at Walmart at least weekly and 43 percent consider themselves to be members of the Creative Class -- figures higher than their non-Latino counterparts. On the other hand, 28 percent of Latinos live in swing states in contrast to 36 percent of non-Latinos.
This is a diverse and eclectic community. All of these groups voted heavily Democrat in 2012, except for the shrinking numbers of self-described conservatives. The GOP went a long way during the primaries and in the general election to create a critical mass of opposition to their exclusionist policies. In doing so, not only did they damage the Republican label, but, contrary to the Republican post-election spin, they failed to articulate a message to Latinos across the board, and, in the process, also succeeded in converting their sought after Latino conservative base to moderates. Can they undo the damage done?
Manny Diaz is the former mayor of Miami, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and author of Miami Transformed: Rebuilding America, One Neighborhood, One City at a Time.
John Zogby is founder of the Zogby Poll, senior analyst with Zogby Analytics, and author of The Way We'll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream.