Poll Shows Immigration Reform Support Is Critical for 2016 GOP Contenders

A new poll from Latino Decisions confirms what many political analysts and establishment figures in the Republican Party from Karl Rove to the Koch brothers have long argued — there will be no GOP presidential victory in 2016 if the party screws up immigration reform. For anyone not in the thralls of toxic right-wing ideology on the issue, it is clear that Republicans need to do better with Latino voters. They don’t need to win this group outright to be competitive, they just need to improve their standing from the disastrous showing in 2012. As Matt Barreto argues for Latino Decisions:

In 2012 Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney by 4.96 million votes, and according to Latino Decisions analysis of the election returns and Latino voting data, Latinos provided Obama with a 5.8 million vote margin. If the Republicans could have won 40% of the Latino vote in 2012 that would have erased 3.6 million net votes — or 72% of the 4.96 million they lost by. Republican don’t need to win the Latino vote outright, they just need to stop losing it so badly… In 2004, George W. Bush won around 40% of the Latino vote and was able to carry states with large and growing Latino electorates like New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Florida and Virginia — all states that Obama won in 2008 and again in 2012. The polling data today suggests Rubio most of all, but Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan as well, can equal or eclipse the 40% mark among Latinos if they provide leadership on immigration reform to get a bill signed into law. However they remain far from the 40% mark right now.

The GOP can’t have it both ways on this issue, claiming to have made progress in the Senate and then pandering to the nativist base in the House. As the survey highlights, Latino voters will not give Republicans credit for getting the job half done. “Latino voters expect to see the GOP successfully move immigration reform and send a true compromise bill to the President. When asked who they would support if the 2016 presidential election were today, no more than 28% supported Rubio, no more than 25% supported Ryan, and no more than 30% supported Bush. On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton is the runaway favorite among Latinos, and would take anywhere from 66% to 74% of the Latino vote if the election were today.” Here is the current presidential landscape among Latino voters based on this latest research:


Right now, the GOP-controlled House and senior “strategists” arguing for a renewed whites-above-all electoral approach are doing everything possible to ignore what common-sense and mounds of data tell us about the state of national politics. Democrats may be giddy at this prospect but it would be far better for millions of undocumented immigrants and the future of the country if the GOP could see through its ideological fog to better align necessary policy change with clear self-interest.