Republican Nativism Already Taking its Toll on the Party
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Jun 28, 2007 at 07:15:49 PM EDT
A lot of people spent a great deal of time both before and after the November 2006 midterm electiosn noting the very real possibility that the Republicans' overtly anti-immigrant rhetoric would come back to bite them in the behind eventually. Indeed, while Democratic House candidates carried the Latino vote, as defined by exit polling, but just a 55 percent to 44 percent margin, Democratic candidates in 2006 won over that same population by a significantly greater 69 percent to 30 percent margin in 2006. And judging by new USA Today polling conducted by Gallup, it appears that 2006 might not in fact have been a low water mark for Republicans.
According to poll of 502 Hispanics in the field from June 2 through 24, President Bush's approval rating among this population is 29 percent -- low, but not significantly lower than the 32 percent showing Bush puts up among all Americans in Gallup polling. However, when we move from topline results on down to some more internals from the poll, the problems for the Republicans become more clear.
The Gallup survey indicates that 42 percent of Hispanics self-identify as Democrats while a mere 11 percent self-identify as Republican; 39 percent self-identify as Independent. When Independents were asked towards which party, if either, they lean, the Democrats' numbers go up to 58 percent among Hispanics while the Republicans' climb to just 20 percent -- a remarkable spread. When polling one potential head-to-head contest, that between the Republican Rudy Giuliani and the Democrat Hillary Clinton (who by far garners the greatest support among Hispanics in a Democratic primary, though that could be a facet of her significantly higher name recognition), Clinton leads 66 percent to 27 percent -- a far greater margin than the 50 percent to 45 percent spread by which she leads Giuliani among all Americans.
The inability to pass legislation creating a path towards legalization for those currently here illegally could hurt the Democrats, decreasing their potential gains among Hispanic voters. But at the same time, the very loud nativism of congressional Republicans certainly is not popular among Hispanics. So there is still, I do believe, an opportunity to build on the gains of the last cycle this year to help build an even larger coalition of support for both a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress.
And by the way... The fact that the Republican presidential candidates opted to snub a major conference of Hispanic leaders isn't going to do much to reverse this trend.