...The Latino vote for Bush was far from decisive, however, and it may be years before it plays a pivotal role in a national election. Latinos may represent about 14% of the U.S. population, but they constituted just 6% of the 2004 electorate -- 7.5 million voters out of 125 million. According to Census Bureau data, only 34% of the nation's adult Latino population registered to vote in 2004, and 28% voted. By contrast, 67% of the country's adult white, non-Latino population and 56% of its adult black population voted in 2004. Black voters outnumbered Latino voters nearly 2 to 1 in 2004.He makes other points that have been made here and elsewhere, namely that supporting a loose border policy is contrary to the interests of Hispanics, that a significant portion of Hispanics actually support our laws, and that pandering to the loose borders sentiment of those on the far-left might actually be counter-productive.
Exit polls taken during 2004 also indicate Latino support for Bush may have been exaggerated. In different polls, Bush's share of the Latino vote ranged from a high of 44% to a low of 33%. Yet subsequent academic studies have estimated Bush's actual level of Latino support at the lower end, somewhere between 35% and 37%. Seen in this context, the "swing" of voters from Bob Dole, who garnered 21% of the Latino vote in 1996, to George W. Bush was hardly historic. In 1984, Ronald Reagan captured 37% of the Latino vote -- a performance at least equal to Bush's.
This suggests that the key to winning Latino votes may be running good candidates, not pandering. Latino voters themselves seem to agree. A 2004 Washington Post poll found that immigration was the least important issue among Latino voters, with only 3.5% placing it at the top of their concerns...
Republicans need to make the argument that tighter border security and immigration policy will help protect not just national security, but also jobs and wages for American citizens and legal residents. The GOP has a shared set of values on life issues with the Hispanic community, and a shared focus on strengthening the family. If we make those arguments, we can lift both the floor and the ceiling of our share of their vote, and do so without mindless pandering.
Immigration2007b · Thu, 10/18/2007 - 07:01 · Importance: 1