I'm perfectly willing to believe that the immigration debate has hurt the GOP among Hispanics, but without any sort of control group it's impossible to tell how much. (Gallup, for example, has the Republicans losing about 5 points among all voters over the same period--suggesting that the real Hispanic immigration backlash amounted to 8 points net, not 13.) ...
Update: More to the point, Mark Blumenthal notes that Pew's own data
shows that leaned party identification (identifiers plus leaners) among all adults went from 47%-40% Democrat/Republican in July 2006 to 54%-36% in October 2007 -- a net Democratic gain of 11 points.
That would make the extra GOP downturn among Hispanics more like a mere 2%! But that would be hardly be worth writing a big report about. No wonder Pew didn't mention it. ...
P.S.: What are the chances that the Pew Hispanic Center is going to conclude that Hispanics are not important or distinctive--they're really just like everyone else and really not worth studying much? I'd say close to zero. The study would be more credible if it came from the Pew Hellenic Center. ... Update: Steve Sailer says I'm being unfair to Pew. ("Robert Suro and the others at the Pew Hispanic Center are willing to publicly state, for example, that the Hispanic vote isn't as big or powerful as the media typically assume."**) But this report, not written by Suro, seems pretty egregious--and it does hype Hispanic voting power.
More: The NYT swallows it whole, without bothering to ask whether "[g]ains made by Republicans ... in the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004" haven't been "erased" for virtually all voters, not just Hispanics. ....
P.P.S.: If legalization is so important to Hispanics, why does John McCain--champion of "comprehensive" reform--only draw 10% support in Pew's Hispanic Republican sample? ...
yes, the GOP may have lost 3 or 4 points among Hispanics on 2006 due to resistance to amnesty, but the size of the Hispanic vote is so small, that it's insignificant -- 5.8% times 4% = 0.23% -- compared to picking up votes (or at least not losing them) among the other 94% of the population.
3:32 P.M. link
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