The Hispanic Vote: Challenging Our Assumptions

Republicans are in general agreement about one central premise as we look ahead to future elections—we must do better with Hispanic voters.  That begins with challenging some long held assumptions.

Data referenced below is taken from a post-election survey conducted in New Mexico among 500 voters who cast a ballot in 2012.  Thirty-seven percent (37%) of the sample is Hispanic.  While New Mexico is a good case study given the size of the Hispanic voting population, this is not meant to be an exhaustive characterization of the national Hispanic population.  It’s just a start.

The presidential ballot in New Mexico this year was 42% Romney/52% Obama.  According to exit polls, Romney lost Hispanics 29%-64%, one point less than McCain earned in 2008 (30%) and substantially lower than George W. Bush’s 40% in 2004.

Assumption #1:  Hispanics are conservative so they should be with us.

Asked to identify themselves ideologically, just 32% of Hispanics consider themselves conservative on most issues.  That compares to 39% of white voters who say they are conservative.  A plurality (45%) of Hispanics consider themselves to be moderate.

Younger Hispanics are even less conservative – just 25% consider themselves ideologically conservative.

Assumption #2:  Catholic Hispanics are more likely to vote Republican than other Hispanics.

It is assumed that Republicans can appeal to Catholic Hispanics on social conservative issues, particularly on the abortion issue. This assumption leads to GOP candidates organizing lit drops at Catholic churches the Sunday before Election Day and other such tactics.

The New Mexico post-election survey demonstrated that Hispanic Catholics were actually LESS likely to support Romney for President than non-Catholic Hispanics.

When asked with whom they agree with more on issues, Republicans or Democrats, just 23% of Hispanic Catholics say Republicans while 65% say Democrats. Protestant Hispanics, on the other hand, agree more with Republicans (58%) than Democrats (39%) on issues.

This doesn’t mean Republicans should not work to earn the vote of Catholic Hispanics, but we need to challenge our assumptions in developing the messages and strategies we implement in our campaigns.

Assumption #3:  We need to focus on immigration to earn the Hispanic vote.

The issue of immigration is important, but it’s our rhetoric that fails us, not necessarily our general positioning.  Hispanics need to hear the GOP position to assure them that we do not show signs of discrimination, or worse.  The top issues for Hispanic voters revolve around opportunities for their families through the economy, job creation, and education.

Interestingly, the top issues cited as reasons Hispanics agree more with Republicans are the economy, abortion and immigration. It is quite possible that we may find common ground on immigration but shrill rhetoric kills the message.

Assumption #4:  Republicans do not perform as well among newer Hispanic immigrants.

This isn’t an assumption.  It’s a big problem for the Republican future unless meaningful steps are taken to address it.

Romney performed roughly ten points worse among Hispanics who are bilingual or Spanish-dominant in their homes, follow Hispanic media, or were born outside the U.S.

We have to be more present.  As Governor Martinez has said, you can’t just show up before an election and earn the Hispanic vote.  We have to do better than throw up poorly crafted TV or radio with Hispanic actors that say “trust me.”  The communication has to mean something, and trust has to be earned.

Change in approach begins with deconstructing the problem and then building toward a better way forward.

Similar Articles

  • Public Education Update
    read more

  • Americans See China And Russia As Adversaries Posing Two Different Threats
    read more

  • A New Look At Ideology
    read more

  • Is social media your friend or a frenemy?
    read more

  • Trump’s numbers tied for his peak high as impeachment talk looms
    read more

Public Opinion Strategies helped us to clarify what we wanted to learn and then conducted research and analysis that shed light even beyond the questions we set out to ask. They were very receptive to our suggestions, responsive to our queries, and flexible when we needed them to be.

Public Opinion Strategies has consistently offered unparalleled advice and spot-on polling that has shaped how and where we spent money and deploy key resources. Additionally, they have always been an excellent steward of limited campaign resources, ensuring we spend wisely and not a dollar more than necessary in order to get the information we need.

Robert Blizzard and Public Opinion Strategies did a great job for us throughout our successful campaign for Congress. Robert gave us accurate data, spot on analysis, and professional advice, all of which were essential to our victory.

Public Opinion Strategies is one of our go-to pollsters when it comes to testing public support for bond ballot measures and other initiative proposals. They are available to provide ongoing consultation with regard to crafting of ballot questions, public outreach messaging, and related efforts.

ACLI has worked with Public Opinion Strategies for decades, through several tough industry battles—often ones in which public opinion does not naturally fall on the side of insurers. Yet Bill and his team consistently provide invaluable strategic advice by refining our messages and helping us frame our issues in a way that makes them understandable and persuasive.

The data from Public Opinion Strategies provided important insight and informed our public awareness campaign. We sincerely appreciate their professionalism and expertise in this arena.

Nicole McCleskey and the team at Public Opinion Strategies have been invaluable to me, both during my campaigns and as Governor of the State of New Mexico. It’s not just the accuracy of their numbers, but guiding the overall strategy that makes them so valuable.

Public Opinion Strategies has been a part of our team in Missouri for more than a decade. With their data and guidance, Republicans here were able to attain a majority in the House in 2002 for the first time in fifty years, and we have been able to grow that majority to the point that we now have a record, veto-proof majority.

In my tenure at two leading business associations, facing huge and complex consumer issues, I have benefitted enormously from the objective advisory skills of Bill and his team. They do their homework, they are rigorous, dispassionate and thoughtful. Turning questions into answers is a clever tag, but it’s also an apt description of the professional talents of the firm.

I consider Public Opinion Strategies to be a part of our team. That is the way we have always worked. They have helped us to understand our needs and fashioned research solutions to meet those needs. They have helped us to meet killer deadlines by being flexible, executing rapidly, and insuring quality. Teamwork is the best way to describe it.

Accuracy, speed, and deep knowledge of key issues and public sentiment are the hallmarks of quality opinion research, and on these measures Public Opinion Strategies consistently delivers. I have had the pleasure of working with Public Opinion Strategies for more than 15 years on dozens of issues, and they are undoubtedly the gold standard.

Public Opinion Strategies’ track record of success and wealth of experience in political campaigns and issue advocacy are why they are one of the most trusted and well respected public opinion firms in Washington, D.C. Their insights and perspectives have helped to inform a wide array of public affairs activities across multiple industries.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :