GOP Pollster: If the Party Doesn't Move on Hispanic, Gay Issues, We're Doomed

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 12 2012 11:43 AM

GOP Pollster: If the Party Doesn't Move on Hispanic, Gay Issues, We're Doomed

Resurgent Republic, the freelance conservative polling group, has released the full tabs of its post-election survey of Hispanic voters. I joined chief pollster Whit Ayres this morning as he, Norm Coleman, and the Hispanic Leadership Network's Jennifer Korn chewed over the results. Surprise -- they're terrible for Republicans.

- Hispanic voters simply don't like the GOP. 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. The inherent dislike is based on the GOP's approach to immigration policy, and it prevents them from hearing out the party -- a phenomenon that Korn refers to as "immigration earmuffs."

- The Republican brand is marketedly better/worse depending on who the leading local Republican voices are. In Florida, Nevada, and New Mexico, where Hispanic Republicans are (respectively) the junior senator, governor, and governor, favorability of Republicans is anywhere from 3-2 negative to 50-50 negative-positive. In Tom Tancredo's Colorado, it's 2-1 negative.

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- Hispanic voters are socially liberal. This was the result that raised my eyebrows the highest. Eight years ago, you'd hear Republicans promise that the Hispanic vote was coming back their way because Hispanics, largely Catholic, are basically with them on social issues. Not anymore. In three states -- Florida, Colorado, and Nevada -- around 50 percent of Hispanics said they were pro-choice. In every state, a least 60 percent of Hispanics said they favored either legal gay marriage or civil unions. The reason, said Korn, was that Hispanics skewed so young. "Republicans have to give some prayful consideration to how they speak to gay Americans," said Ayres.

The poll numbers looked far, far better for Republicans on economic issues. Ayres affected a tone of mock outrage when he revealed Hispanic preferences on taxes and spending, then their preference for Democrats as the party of "small business." There was no way around the problem but through immigration. And little solutions, like Marco Rubio's DREAM compromise, would probably not fix it. "The piecemeal approach doesn't work anymore," said Coleman.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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