The Hispanic vote didn't cost Mitt Romney the election
In Ohio, where the president received an estimated 54 percent of the Hispanic vote, according to exit poll data, we find he could have won the state with as little as 22 percent of the Hispanic vote, and in Virginia, where he received 64 percent of the Hispanic vote, we find that he could have carried the state with just over 33 percent.
It is also worth noting that in states that were not considered battleground territory, Mr. Obama could still have won without a majority of the Hispanic vote. In California, Mr. Obama took the state’s 55 electoral votes with 72 percent of the Hispanic vote, but could have won with as little as 25 percent. And in Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes), where Mr. Obama received an estimated 80 percent of the Hispanic vote, he could have still carried the state with just over 37 percent...
...In the remaining swing states – Nevada, Florida and Colorado – along with New Mexico, Mr. Obama did require a majority of the Hispanic votes cast in order to carry those states, although the shares he achieved still exceeded the threshold minimums he needed. In Colorado, where Mr. Obama received an estimated 75 percent of the Hispanic vote, we estimate that he could have won with just over 58 percent, and in Nevada, where he won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, he could have carried the state with just under 54 percent. In the key battleground of Florida (29 electoral votes), Mr. Obama’s 60 percent share of the Hispanic vote was just above the 58 percent share required for victory in that state.
In New Mexico, Florida, Nevada and Colorado, slightly higher shares (but still less than a majority) of the Hispanic vote could have swung them to Mr. Romney, and this may well put these states in play in the next election if the Republican candidate and platform have broader appeal among Hispanic voters.
They also look into whether comprehensive immigration reform (aka amnesty) could help the GOP gain more Hispanic votes, and find that idea wanting. Exit polls show that Hispanics aren't overly socially conservative, and further:
Exit poll results also indicate that Hispanics are not necessarily racing to adopt the Republican platform of smaller government. Nearly 6 in 10 Hispanics said Mr. Obama’s health care law should be expanded or left as is, compared to about a third of white voters. And 57 percent of Hispanics said that government should be doing more to solve the problems of individuals, compared to 36 percent of whites. Hispanics, like the rest of the electorate, were also in favor of raising income taxes in order to reduce the federal deficit.
The NYT is implying (and implying against interest) that even if the GOP passed amnesty, they'd still need to deal with the fact that Hispanics in general support economic ideas associated with the Democrats. Not only that, but the GOP will have trouble demagoguing them on social issues.
The argument among the GOP about amnesty as a way to get the "Hispanic vote" is a microcosm of the problems the GOP faces: their leaders aren't too bright, and most are corrupt (such as those using helping the GOP as cover for their amnesty push, when the real reason they're pushing amnesty is to gain personal power or donations/payments from illegal immigration profiteers).