Whither the Hispanic Vote, Dems?

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This release from The Latino Coalition has some startling results for Democrats:

When asked what party they identify with, Democrats outpaced Republicans by a margin of 58 percent to 23 percent, compared to a margin of 52 percent to 29 percent last year. If the midterm congressional elections were held today, Democrats would win overwhelmingly with a margin of 61 percent to 21 percent, compared to last year’s 56 percent to 30 percent. “The Republican Party is rapidly losing all the gains they achieved under President Bush in the Hispanic community,” Deposada added. “If the GOP wants to remain competitive among Hispanic voters, they need to wage an all out effort to regain the momentum.”

So, why is this startling? This should be something Democrats hope to capitalize on, right? Well, let’s not put the cart before the horse:

The debate over immigration reform appears to be one of the hottest issues in the upcoming elections and is a perfect example of this diversity. “Hispanic registered voters are strongly supporting initiatives to reform immigration while penalizing illegal behavior. A majority of Hispanic voters (52.4 percent) support initiatives that would not allow people who entered this county illegally to become citizens unless they reapply from their country of origin,” Deposada said. “By a margin of 50 percent to 41 percent, Hispanic voters support increasing the number of border patrol agents in our southern border, and also support new laws to make sure that employers can only hire workers who are in the U.S. legally (50 percent to 41 percent). An overwhelming majority of 82 percent support the creation of a new Temporary Worker Program. Also a plurality (41.2 percent to 39.9 percent) support imposing a fine of at least $2,000 for illegal immigrants in order to gain legal employment as a temporary worker in the U.S.” (emphasis mine)

Basically, Latinos identify with Democrats; but those registered to vote are more likely to support candidates who will implement hard-line immigration reform.

In my mind, this is not something Dems can trumpet. Immigration reform is being championed by the likes of Tom Tancredo, though David Pfeffer might like these numbers if he knows how to move on them.

It seems that Republicans have a better chance of recouping Hispanic votes than of losing any more, especially if they make immigration a central issue.

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