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.