Political Beliefs of Hispanics May Not Be What You Think

Over at the AJC, Kyle Wingfield picked up on an item we had in this morning’s Daily (subscribe here) noting that the crosstabs in the recent 11 Alive Poll show support for Nathan Deal and David Perdue among Hispanics:

Poll Results Show Hispanic Support For… Republicans? C’mon!   An 11Alive poll released last week showed strong support for Republicans: an 11-point lead for Governor Nathan Deal, and a 12-point lead for David Perdue among Hispanic voters. Even the chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party’s Latino Caucus, Antonio Molina, “concedes that GOP family and religious issues appeal to many Hispanic voters.” Republicans probably shouldn’t pint their future hopes on a surge of support among Hispanic voters however. Even though the sample size proportionate to the likely percentage of overall Hispanic turnout, it’s still less than 40.

Wingfield finds some additional polling that supports the idea that a perhaps considerable portion of the Hispanic vote could go to the Republican candidates in November, and says,

[I]t simply isn’t true that Republican candidates only receive the support of white voters. If Deal (or any other Republicans seeking statewide office) really gets 30 percent or more of the Hispanic vote in this election, that will be significant — particularly after the prominent legislative battle during Deal’s first term over the bill cracking down on illegal immigrants in Georgia. It would confirm that, far from being single-issue voters, many Hispanics look at the whole picture — and that the GOP has positions on a number of other issues that resonate with them, such as religious and social issues.

Wingfield’s position is supported up to a point by a recent post on the New Republic website by Hispanic DREAMer John David Romero, featuring a Q and A with Gary Segura, the author of a new book about how Hispanics will influence politics as we approach mid-century. He points out that by 2050, Hispanics will constitute 29% of America’s population, and that as of now, 93% of the Latinos under the age of 18 are citizens, and thus will be eligible to vote upon their eighteenth birthday.

He talks a bit about the issues that might drive Hispanics to the polls:

JDR: You write that the Latino agenda is the American agenda. Can you elaborate a little bit on this statement?

GS: This is a quote from Cruz Bustamante. Bustamante used to like to say that the Latino agenda is the American agenda because, when you take out immigration, the things that Latinos most often worry about are education, jobs, public safety, crime, and healthcare. None of those are particularly Latino-focused. Bustamante thought that Latino politics were more likely to be advanced successfully if the Latino agenda looked more mainstream and less minority specific.

JDR: In your book you say: “Latinos are not as socially conservative as popularly conceived nor as susceptible.” Explain to me what this means for Hispanics now, in the midterm, and future elections?

GS: Going back to Ronald Reagan, Republicans have always believed that social conservatism—messages around religion, hard work, opposition to abortion, and gay rights—is going to get them a growing share of the Latino vote. It doesn’t work out that way. First of all, Latinos are about as pro-gay as all other Americans; Latinos don’t want ministers telling them who to vote for and they don’t want politicians relying on their religious beliefs to make policy. So they don’t see these things as defining how they vote, and Republicans don’t get that.

The conventional wisdom shared by many Republicans is that Hispanic sensitivity to social issues should make them natural Republicans. Segura’s thinking seems to contradict that. In fact, a focus on economic issues and a “Don’t tell me what to do” attitude on social issues makes them sound a lot like some millennials I know.


  1. Bobloblaw says:

    I saw that in the poll and dont believe it. It also says 11% of the electorate will Hispanic or Other. Dont believe that either.

    What will make Hispanics GOP, will be Evangelize them. Bush actually won a majority of Evangelized hispanics in 2004.

  2. jh says:

    Margin of error on a sample of 40 is 15%+/-???

    Let’s assume it is accurate though, what about after Obama grants a bunch amnesty this winter?

    • Harry says:

      It’s likely that most Hispanics aren’t in favor of blanket amnesty. They understand it would reduce their security and standard of living.

  3. The poll is almost certainly wrong. I ran the top precincts for Hispanic turnout in 2012 (most # of hispanics who voted). In none of these precincts do these voters constitute a majority of the voters, but let’s compare the precincts’ Obama % to the county as a whole.

    Hall 13 – 43% vs 21%
    Hall 26 – 43% vs 21%

    Whitfield 5a – 68% vs 27%

    Gwinnett 116, 115, 123, 117, 6, 139, 144, 17, 83, 26, 58 – 69%, 58%, 79%, 79%, 46%, 72%, 71%, 75%, 40%, 46% compared to 45% average for the county

    Even in Forsyth county, precincts with small hispanic totals (between 130-145 voters) outperformed the county average by 4%, 2%, 1%.

    So sorry – Hispanics don’t make up 7% of the electorate and there’s just no imaginable way that they will support Republicans in greater #s than Democrats.

      • Instead of 7%, it’s 2% and instead of them being for the GOP, they’re probably something like 65% for the Democrats.

        The non-white, non-black as a whole is something like 7% and includes Hispanics, and is probably like 60% Democratic overall.

    • Not really. If you’re trying to make the point that abortion politics and Hispanic catholics is why Wendy Davis is polling poorly, I think it has very little to do with it, if anything.

      Barack Obama, John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill White, Chris Bell etc etc these are just a few of the other Democrats who’ve recently gotten crushed in Texas without abortion taking the forefront. Texas is just a bad state for Democrats.

      • Jon Lester says:

        It’s the most spectacular kingmaking failure by national Democrats this year, and shallow bench syndrome won’t be overcome in this cycle.

        You’re right, though. Davis is also performing badly because everyone’s found out what kind of person she really is.

    • Texas’s population demographics are similar to Georgia except blacks and hispanics are flipped.

      So in Georgia, the 30% minority population votes at the same rates as the majority whites, and supports Democrats at 90%.

      In Texas, the 30% minority population votes at a lower rate, and supports Democrats at around 60%.

      So in Georgia for every 70 non-black votes you’ve got something like 30 black votes and 27 of them are Democratic, meaning you need to get 23 of the 70 non-black votes for a majority.

      In Texas, for every 70 non-hispanic votes, you’ve got something like 20 hispanic votes and 12 of them for Democrats. So to get a majority you need to get 33 of the 70 non-hispanic votes.

      That’s the difference right there. It has literally nothing to do with Hispanic Catholics and Wendy Davis’s abortion.

      • Jon Lester says:

        It still doesn’t absolve state and national Democrats for championing such a terrible candidate. It’s as if they went out of their way to fail the very people they supposedly fight for.

  4. Chet Martin says:

    Republicans would be well-served to find another way to get the Latino vote then obstinate social conservatism. They’ll always be the party of God and Family, so that may hit some sweet spots among Hispanics. But if they took a hard line on abortion and marriage equality to win the Hispanic vote (which much of the data seems to suggest doesn’t work too much), they’ll poison the well with Millennials. Not to mention Hispanic Millennials.

    Those are the two groups the GOP has to make in-roads with to stay relevant and win national elections. It’s bad strategy to pit them against each other

      • Chet Martin says:

        Same-sex marriage is probably the defining political issue of the millennial generation. It’s the one that has the broadest support, accepts the least opposition, and is most tied to our age above all other socio-economic strata.. Along with marijuana legalization, it’s the issue on which millennials are most clueless- clueless of how this could have been an issue for so long, on how anyone in good faith can disagree. It’s not going away.

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