The Corner

New Data on Republicans and Hispanics

From Resurgent Republic.

On two points I think the analysts are mistaken; and in both cases, alas, their picture of Republican opportunities among Hispanics looks too rosy. First, they repeat the long-discredited statistic that George W. Bush got 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004.

Second, they write that Republicans, once they overcome the impression of many Hispanics that the party is hostile to them, should “at a minimum” be able to win the support of those Hispanic voters who believe that “government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.” The assumption here is that these voters would be Republican voters but for their impression that the party hates them. The analysis reports that 23 percent of Hispanics in Colorado voted for Romney, but 30 percent thought government does too many things; 25 percent of Hispanics in Nevada voted for Romney, but 35 percent thought government does too many things.

Does this gap represent easy pickings for the Republicans, that is, the “minimum” they can expect if they stop seeming anti-Hispanic? No. The exit polls show that Romney won only 74 percent of all Americans who think the government does too many things, with Obama winning 24 percent. The Hispanic gap in Colorado and Nevada wasn’t greatly higher than the total gap. (That is, Romney won 77 percent of Colorado Hispanics who think the government is too big and 71 percent of Nevada Hispanics who thought that.)

(For comparison, by the way, Kerry won 29 percent of those voters in 2004 who said “no” when asked if the government should do more to solve social problems.)

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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