A new poll from MSNBC seems to indicate that the Republican Party’s immigration position is costing it support among Hispanic voters:
68% of Latinos approve of Obama’s job (compared with 48% of overall respondents and 38% of whites), and they view the Democratic Party favorably by a 54%-21% score (versus 41%-40% among all adults and 34%-48% among whites). And their views of the Republican Party? In the poll, the GOP fav/unfav among Latinos is 22%-44%. What’s more, Latinos think Democrats would do a better job than Republicans in protecting the interests of minorities (by 58%-11%), in representing the opportunity to move up the economic ladder (46%-20%), in dealing with immigration (37%-12%), and in promoting strong moral values (33%-23%). The only advantage they gave Republicans was in enforcing security along the border (31%-20%). And Latinos remain a sleeping — yet growing — political giant: 23% of them aren’t registered voters (compared with 12% of whites and 16% of blacks)
The trend has seen Hispanics move away from the GOP at a steady pace, and the prospect that it might is bad news for the GOP:
– In 2004, Dems held a 22-point edge in party identification among Latinos (49%-27%)
— In 2005, it was 24 points (48%-24%)
— In 2006, it was 26 points (50%-22%)
— In 2007, it was 30 points (52%-22%)
— In 2008, it was 35 points (57%-22%)
— In 2009, it was 31 points (50%-19%)
— And so far in 2010, it has been 36 points (58%-22%).
Smart GOP strategists know this is a problem; the consensus is that Republicans need to capture AT LEAST 35-40% of the vote to win national contests. Yet looking at Republican primaries across the country, GOP candidates aren’t looking at the long-term. In Arizona, John McCain is airing a TV ad declaring “complete the danged fence.” In California, Steve Poizner is comparing Meg Whitman to Mexico’s president in a TV ad criticizing her opposition to the Arizona law, while Whitman has a TV ad saying she “absolutely” opposes amnesty. And in Alabama, gubernatorial candidate Tim James says, “This is Alabama, we speak English. If you want to live here, learn it.” Pete Wilson is an important lesson here, says co-pollster Peter Hart (D): In presidential races from 1952 to 1988, Dems won California just once. After Wilson’s Prop. 187, Republicans haven’t come close to winning the nation’s biggest state. The next California could be Texas, and the GOP can’t afford to have that big state become competitive.