Fox News Poll on Latinos Offers GOP Fair Warning

Mar19

Loyal Calbuzz readers know we have hammered on immigration – and especially the issue of a pathway to citizenship — time and time and time again. We’ve cited polls by Pew, PPIC, Field and even one by Republicans Marty Wilson and Bob Moore in which one-third of Latino voters said they would never vote for a Republican.

But we are shocked – pleasantly we might add – to be able to add to this list of surveys a poll of 1,200 likely Latino voters done Feb. 10-25 by Latin Insights for, of all clients, Fox News.

We don’t know how Latin Insights picked their likely voters, we don’t know anything about their telephone methodology, their sampling or their weighting, and we don’t have access to their data set or complete crosstabs. But the results are so at odds with the broad sentiments of the survey’s sponsor that they merit serious analysis.

The electoral top lines of this survey have been reported by Fox and others: among Latinos, President Obama’s approval is 73%, including 66% on health care, 58% on the economy and 45% on immigration. He beats Mitt Romney 70-14%, Rick Santorum 69-14% and Newt Gingrich 72-14%.

Some 51% of likely Latino voters say they’re conservative and 39% say they’re liberal. But they rate the Democratic Party 65-21% favorable and the Republican Party 60-25% unfavorable. Seven in 10 Latino likely voters identify with the Democratic Party and just 16% with the Republican Party.

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They say they trust the Democrats more than the Republicans to do a better job on immigration policies 64-11%; support small business owners 64-12%; represent the view of Latinos 63-12%; help Latinos achieve the American Dream 60-10%; respect traditional values 55-16% and create good-paying jobs 53-16%.

Right facts, wrong conclusion: Immigration is cited as the most important issue by just 12% of voters, following the economy and jobs at 49% and education and health care at 15% each. About 56% say open borders would hurt the country, but 81% say undocumented workers expand the economy and 51% say the country’s immigration policy is too strict.

It’s that Latinos, like others, rate the economy and jobs as the top issue (along with the high proportion of Latinos who say they’re conservative), that gets Republicans all confused. That, they argue, means all we have to do is show them that we’re better for them on the issue they care about the most, and they’ll vote for us.

Wrong.

Here are the strongest numbers in the Fox News survey:

– Do you think undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States when they were children should be eligible to legalize their status if they attend college or serve in the military? Yes: 90%; No: 7%; Don’t know: 3%

–  In general, do you favor or oppose providing undocumented immigrants currently in the United States a path to citizenship? Favor: 85%; Oppose: 10%; Don’t know 5%

The Republican Party’s failure to adapt to the demographic realities of the United States and to accommodate the changing population with an immigration policy that affords dignity and hope to Latinos is not a new issue.

Wisest of GOP wise men: In November, it will have been 15 years since Stu Spencer, the most important adviser and manager of Ronald Reagan’s political ascendancy, wrote a memo titled “Wake-up Call for GOP,” in which he warned: “We are dramatically losing market share of the fastest growing segment of the electorate . . . The stakes are too high for us to act like political ostriches and ignore the challenges we face.”

But by allowing themselves to be horse-whipped by anti-immigrant border fanatics, GOP elders have failed – year in and year out – to take a stand in primary elections that does not doom them in the general election. Which is exactly what is happening this year to Romney, Santorum and Gingrich.

No, immigration is not the most important issue to Latino voters, as we have noted over and over again. But by taking the stands they have — against the Dream Act and a pathway to citizenship, by supporting a requirement that would-be voters produce photo ID to prove US citizenship (opposed 72-23%) and by calling for a crack-down on illegal immigration when more than half of Latino voters say US policy is too strict now – Republicans are indeed political ostriches. And Latinos don’t care what they have to say about the “important” issues.

Mittens hearts eMeg: If he winds up, as we long ago predicted he might, campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in California, the Mitt Romney who has said he would veto the Dream Act and who advocates “self-deportation,” might morph again on the issue of immigration. If he wants to have any hope among Latinos in the general election, that is.

But if – like his political protégé Meg Whitman did in the 2010 governor’s race – he believes he has to play to the right-wing base of the GOP, Romney may double down on self-deportation and killing the Dream Act.

Which is one of the reasons he’ll never be president.


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There are 2 comments for this post

  1. avatar chrisfinnie says:

    Okay Republicans. Here’s the straight talk you obviously need to hear:

    1. In order to convince any demographic that cares about jobs and the economy that your ideas are the best, you have to tell us something we haven’t heard before. Because we already know how badly it worked the last time. So don’t try to convince us cutting taxes for the rich will create jobs. All it will do is blow a hole in the budget that will give you an excuse to cut services that matter to us like education. Don’t treat us like we’re stupid of victims of short-term memory loss. It was only 3 years ago that we got a graphic demonstration of what a disaster this policy is for the country.

    2. Listen to Calbuzz. Don’t insult us in other ways and then ask us for our vote. By treating women, minorities, and the poor like second-class citizens, you make it less likely we’ll hear your other message–if you ever decide to come up with one besides hate for and fear of “the other.” You treat women like livestock that are yours to breed as you see fit. Minorities like thieves who are here to steal jobs and benefits. And everybody who doesn’t agree with you as unfit for the rights of GOP citizens–like voting. You take away access to equal education for our children and grandchildren. You take away voting rights and rights to democratic representation (See the financial manager law in Michigan). You take away control of our very bodies. And then you want our vote? If we have the necessary ID and are still allowed to vote that is. Really?

    Got that? It’s only two steps and neither are very complicated. They boil down to a single idea: respect. You respect our rights and our intelligence and we’ll listen. See? That isn’t really very hard at all. Bet you won’t do it.

    • avatar tegrat says:

      and let’s not forget their obsession with all matters LGBT, another losing proposition. While the GOP has mastered the art of messaging, they seem to forget that no matter how good the message is there simply has to be some underlying truth to it, otherwise, sooner or later, the pandering becomes insufferable. Get a clue, GOP.

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