Monday, April 16, 2012

Concerning Right Wingnut's Latest Post

I suppose the sign of a good post is that it gets people to respond and so I want to add my thoughts to what Right Wingnut posted earlier regarding Romney and the Latino vote. RW’s assertion is that Romney will not win the general election without Rubio. While I agree with his underlying perspective, I think that statement is a bit off.

1. While the Latino vote is important, it is not make-or-break for Romney. Again, I went over this with lots of graphs in an earlier post. Of the 12-15 swing states, only four states feature a significant Latino population – New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Florida. Romney can win the general election without the first three. And while Florida may very well be make-or-break, it does not feature the kind of Latinos (if I may put it that way) that would be most opposed to Romney. Having lived in Miami for two years, I can testify that the older Cuban-Americans are fiercely Republican. Cubans also fall under different immigration rules and thus may be less driven by immigration policy. In short, Romney’s path is more difficult because of the Latino vote, but it is far from impossible.

Note: in all of the swing states he has a problem with women voters, so he might be better off finding a woman running mate. Especially, if Hillary joins Obama’s ticket.

2. Worst case scenario – Romney gets McCain level support with Latinos. The Fox News poll which Right Wingnut posted (and which I posted a month ago) should certainly concern us. However, it seems to be an outlier. I try to keep a sturdy eye on the demographic breakdown on polls as they come out and it seems that Romney is right around 30-35% of the vote. That is where I found him in my analysis on Nevada and Colorado. If Romney does get 17% of the Latino vote in November, then it is most likely because he has failed all around in his campaign and will likely lose more than just the Latino vote.

3. Latinos care more about the economy, education, and health care than immigration. There is ample evidence that shows this. That is why McCain, despite putting his neck out on the line for immigration, failed to inspire Latinos. That is also why Romney (Fox News poll aside) seems to get the same level of support, despite his “self-deportation” argument during the primaries. Both of those men have starkly different views on immigration, yet are carrying the same level of support. This indicates that there are other deciding variables, or that Latinos are driven away by the R beside the candidates’ names. The challenge for Romney will be to address the economic and health care concerns (yes, I did say health care) of Latino voters while trying to steer the conversation away from his primary rhetoric about self-deportation. That will be a difficult task. However, if the economy doesn’t fully recover, then he will have an opportunity to keep his losses with Latinos at a minimum.

I should note that Latino and women voters tend to share at least one common characteristic: they generally find the anti-government, Tea Party message less appealing. Romney is going to need to show some empathy during the campaign and discuss how he is going to improve health care and the daily lives of Americans. I recommend something similar to George Bush’s “compassionate conservatism,” although I would certainly change the name. I also recommend the DREAM act but I digress.

4. Marco Rubio will not move too many votes. I do agree that a Latino on the ticket will help. How much? I am not sure. I have no data to back up what I am saying, but I think that we need to be careful about assuming that Latinos only want to see one of their own on the ticket. I assume that they are more thoughtful than that. Again, no data on this one, but that is my suspicion. Women did not find Sarah Palin appealing, and I do not see any reason to believe that Latinos will automatically flock to Rubio.

5. Communication is important. It’s not necessarily the specific immigration policies that a candidate chooses, but the way in which he expresses them. If the Latino community perceives that the GOP is hostile towards them, they will not vote Republican.

Having said all of that, Right Wingnut is certainly right that the Latino dissatisfaction with the GOP is quite disconcerting. Last week, I wrote that Texas will be a swing state by 2020. By 2030, it will be a Democratic stronghold. That is, if the Republicans do not do anything to win back Latinos. If Texas turns blue, then there will be no Republican Party. Game over. The Latino vote will not be like the African-American vote, which has remained relatively stable and small over the years. In contrast, the Latino vote will represent about a third of the voting electorate by 2041. I sort of see Romney as the last of the Mohicans in regards to anti-immigrant rhetoric. Romney knows this and that is why he is likely to backtrack ever so slightly on his past rhetoric in the coming months (years).

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Right Wingnut said...

The title of my post may be an over-simplification of the situation, but I intended it that way. My point is that Romney needs close to of the Latino vote. How he can get there is debatable. I have yet to see any evidence that he's on track to get there.

In addition, he absolutely cannot win the election without Florida.

It is my opinion that Marco Rubio would help with both, and would be satisfactory to an overwhelming majority of the base.

I don't think Mitt can make the sale to Latinos. Rubio can. That doesn't mean I think it guarantees a Romney victory.

Right Wingnut said...

Messed up typing on phone.....Romney needs close to 40% of the Latino vote.

Right Wingnut said...

If he loses NM, CO, and NV, he pretty much needs to run the table in FL, NC, VA, and OH. You talk about MI, NH, WI, and PA all you want, but if he loses FL or OH, those states would likely be out of reach.

Pablo said...

I agree with your last statement. He needs to run the table in FL, NC, VA, and OH. That is, if he doesn't win CO or NV.

Anonymous said...

2010 Election is the best indicator of Obama's fate in November.

Numerous comments on an article THAT ARE NEGATIVE might also be a sign that the article is lame and way out there in wishful thinking land.