In a press conference held today at the National Press Club, Resurgent
Republic and the Hispanic Leadership Network announced the findings of
four joint surveys of Hispanics voters in Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and
The results provide clarity on the gap Republicans have created among Hispanic voters over the past eight years, demonstrate the potential for conservative candidates in four very different Hispanic electorates, and suggest the short and long-term steps that can improve Republicans' standing in the Hispanic community.
"To be competitive nationally in the future, Republicans must do better among non-white Americans, especially Hispanics and Asians," according to an analysis by Whit Ayres, Resurgent Republic Board Member. "If Republicans achieve 40 percent or more of Hispanics nationally, they can elect conservatives to national office. Settling for a quarter or less of the Hispanic vote nationally will relegate Republicans to a regional party with few national prospects."
In the challenges category, the surveys' top two findings are:
Hispanic voters say the Republican party does not respect the values and concerns of the Hispanic community by 51 to 44 percent in Florida, 54 to 40 percent in New Mexico, 59 to 35 percent in Nevada, and 63 to 30 percent in Colorado.
Majorities of voters in each state say that "is anti-immigrant" better describes the Republican Party, while the Democratic Party has big leads on "understands the needs and concerns of Hispanic voters," and "makes an effort to win Hispanic voters."
One area of potential concern for Democrats is seen on "Views the Hispanic community as a group, rather than as individuals," where they lead Republicans in every state by double-digit margins. This suggests a sense among some Hispanic voters that the Democratic Party takes them and their vote for granted, thus offering Republicans an opportunity to make inroads among these voters with a results-oriented agenda that does not pander.
"The results of our poll confirm, once again, that the policies offered by conservative candidates are more closely aligned with the values of Hispanic voters, but the tone of some Republicans running for office are alienatingthem," said HLN Executive Director Jennifer S. Korn. "Continuing on this path is political suicide for conservatives. It is up to the rising stars of the conservative movement, from Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio to Susana Martinez, to change the tide," she added.
As was seen nationally, Hispanic voters in these states say the economy was the most important issue in deciding their vote for President. On immigration, of nine tested policies, Hispanic voters support eight of them by overwhelming margins, including guest worker programs, border security, and legal status provisions. They only oppose "taking aggressive steps to seek out and deport as many undocumented immigrants as possible."
On governing style, majorities of Hispanic voters in all four states believe small businesses face taxes that are too high and too many regulations. At a minimum, Republicans should gain the percentage of Hispanic voters who say "government is doing too many things better left to individuals and businesses." An even larger proportion of Hispanics in each state believes the best way to create jobs is to limit government spending, lower taxes, and reduce excessive regulation.
Moreover, majorities of Hispanic voters in all four states believe small businesses face too many regulations and taxes that are too high. Voters agree with the statement "small businesses are struggling from taxes that are too high and regulations that are too burdensome," including 51 percent in Florida, 60 percent in Colorado, 61 percent in Nevada, and 62 percent in New Mexico. By advocating for tax and regulation reforms, Republicans close the gap on which party is better trusted on this issue.
There is also evidence that Republicans can improve their standing moving forward. When asked a version of a generic ballot for president in 2016, the percentage of Hispanics who say they will likely vote for a Republican plus those who may vote for a Republican if they like the candidate and his policies surpasses 40 percent in all four states.
In 2012, Hispanics constituted 10 percent of the national electorate, up from nine percent in 2008. That is a sign of things to come. Every month in America 50,000 Hispanic children become 18 years old and eligible to vote, a trend that will continue for the next 20 years.
In three of the four swing states polled, the percentage of Hispanic voters grew between 2008 and 2012, from 14 to 17 percent in Florida, from 13 to 14 percent in Colorado, and from 15 to 18 percent in Nevada. Only in New Mexico was the Hispanic percentage down, from 41 to 37 percent.
The surveys of 400 Hispanic voters in each of the four states -- Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada -- were conducted November 28-December 7, 2012. Respondents were selected randomly from a listed sample of Hispanic registered voters.
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