Warnings about the Republican Party’s future have been dire since the November elections. Find a way to attract minority voters –- particularly the nation’s fast-growing Latino population -– or face losing the White House and down-ballot races for decades.
An analysis of a poll released this month by the independent polling firm Latino Decisions found that neither Republicans nor Democrats should rest easy.
In a hypothetical election match-up between a Republican candidate who supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants against a Democrat who opposes citizenship, 61 percent of Latinos who voted for President Barack Obama in 2012 said they would would choose the Republican, according to the poll. Another 43 percent of Latino Obama supporters said they would become more likely to consider or vote for a Republican if the party plays a major role in comprehensive immigration reform. In fact, 41 percent of Obama’s Latino voters have already cast a ballot in favor of a down-ticket Republican seeking federal, state or local office, the poll found.
The possible good news for Democrats and undocumented immigrants is that even Latinos who identify as Republicans seem prepared to insist on comprehensive immigration reform. About 64 percent of Latino Republicans described comprehensive immigration reform as “very” or “extremely” important, according to the Latino Decisions analysis. And nearly 70 percent of Latino Republicans said they wanted an immigration plan with a clear pathway to citizenship.
Latino Decisions interviewed 800 Latino registered voters via landline and mobile phone in every state from Feb. 15 to Feb. 26. The poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.