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Hispanics Bailing Out on GOP

by Ruy Teixeira

The last poll of Hispanics I reviewed, in late June of last year, indicated that Hispanics were moving away from the GOP rapidly, after Republicans’ relatively good performance with this group in the 2004 election. That DCorps poll is now fairly old, so a new survey of Hispanics is certainly in order to assess whether this move away from the GOP is continuing.

The Latino Coalition, a conservative group close to the GOP, has now provided just that: a new nationwide poll of Hispanics which, as it happens, confirms the trend away from the GOP shown in the June poll. Indeed, this poll shows the GOP in even worse shape among Hispanic voters than was suggested by that earlier poll. And, given who conducted it, you certainly couldn’t accuse this new poll of Democratic bias. Indeed, Latino Coalition Hispanic polls in the past have typically produced results substantially more favorable to the GOP than contemporaneous results of DCorps and other national polls of Hispanics. So it’s a real eye-opener to get these very, very unfavorable results from this particular organization at this point in time.

Let’s start with the generic Congressional contest. This poll finds Democrats with a stunning 61-21 lead over the GOP among Hispanic registered voters, which translates into a 50 point lead (75-25) among those who express a preference. The analogous figure among those who expressed a preference in the June DCorps poll was “only” 36 points. By way of comparison to the last two off-year elections, 2002 and 1998, Democrats carried the Congressional vote by 24 and 26 points, respectively.

The new poll also finds Democrats with a 35 point lead (58-23) in party identification among voters. Also among voters, Democrats have huge leads over Republicans as the party better able to handle a wide variety of issues: being in touch with the Hispanic community (+41); providing affordable health care (+40); improving the economy (+31 points); improving education (+30); and representing your views on immigration (+29). The one exception to this pattern is on “keeping America safe and fighting terrorism”, where the parties are dead-even (and even here, the report notes, this tie is a sharp decline from Bush’s 14 point lead over Kerry on this issue before the 2004 election).

All this means there’s very little keeping Hispanics tied to the GOP. And a great deal that’s pushing them away. The result could be a very substantial swing back toward the Democrats in 2006.