Latino Political Opinion Research

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In 2012, the Latino/a vote emerged as a powerful political force. In particular, the Republican party learned a hard lesson in 2012 about the Latino/a vote. The Latino/a population had grown to 16 percent of the total population in 2010 (Carroll 149). They were also the only demographic whose turnout and support for President Obama grew, voting 71% in favor of the incumbent. Since they now made up 10 percent of the vote, these voters were a major part of the President’s re-election (Carroll 147). As we are approaching the 2016 contest, some Republicans have been attempting to court this powerful demographic while others have continued to repeat the mistakes made in the 2012. This will not help their campaigns, as it is becoming increasingly…show more content…
In July 2015, they released an article thinking about how much Latino support a Republican candidate would need to win in 2016, looking at the 2012 and 2014 midterm elections. They came up with a scenario in favorable Republican conditions: “that white voters consolidate behind the Republican Party at levels that were observed in 2014; that black participation and Democratic support returns to pre-Obama levels; and the expected growth in the Latino vote does not fully materialize” (Barretto 2015). Under this “best case scenario,” Latino Decisions predicts that 42 percent of the Latino vote would have to go to the Republican party in order to win the popular vote. Looking at the 2012 election, this means there would need to be a jump in Latino support for the Republican Party. However, unless the Republican party changes focus, there will continue to be a disconnect between the Republican Party and the emerging Latino…show more content…
However, these voters feel that the issues they care most about are better handled by the Democratic party. With this information, candidates must court the Latino vote without abandoning their primarily white base. Different candidates have taken different strategies when attempting to sway this important demographic. For example, Jeb Bush has used Spanish at campaign events for this election and in endorsement commercials in 2014. His wife, Columba, is from Mexico. Pundits speculate that his stance on the economy and education could appeal to Latino voters should he make it through the Republican primary. However, other candidates are bashing his use of the Spanish language, saying he was “‘speaking Mexican’” (Holland 2015). This critique came from Donald Trump, who has proven to be divisive among Republican voters and Latino voters alike. His controversial statements regarding immigrants during his announcement have Republican strategists worried that Latino voters will remember the anti-immigrant tone of the primary next November. Alfonso Aguilar, an official in George W. Bush’s administration and the executive director of the American Principles Project’s Latino Partnership warned that “Right now, if the other candidates don’t respond to Trump, Latinos will buy the argument that Republicans agree with him” (Gabriel 2015). If this is the case, many Latino voters

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