There’s been buzz among Republicans for a good while that Mitt Romney’s chronic problems among Latino voters, buttressed by his macho cryto-nativist talk during the primaries, might be significantly mitigated if his party found a way to support anything positive on the immigration front. To the rescue, we’ve been told, is coming Sen. Marco Rubio, who has been working on some version of the DREAM Act providing educational benefits for the do-be children of undocumented immigrants, but not a path to actual citizenship (i.e., the “amnesty” forbidden by Romney’s conservative masters).
Latino Decisions has now done a survey comparing descriptions of the actual DREAM Act as sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin with Rubio’s DREAM Lite (also a general description, since Rubio is still fiddling with it), and it’s not close:
Overall, our survey found 87% of Latinos strongly or somewhat supported the Durbin version of the DREAM Act, compared to just 10% who were strongly or somewhat opposed. In contrast, we find a split on the Rubio version of DREAM with 49% of Latinos in support and 46% opposed….
So after hearing each of these two versions of the DREAM Act on their own, we asked respondents to compare the two versions and tell us which, if any they preferred more. Among Latinos, 82% said they preferred the Durbin DREAM Act to only 13% who preferred the Rubio DREAM Act.
Keep in mind that Mitt Romney hasn’t even indicated he will support DREAM Lite. If he does, it’s not going to be a silver bullet. And his problems with Latino voters remain pretty dire: the same Latino Decisions survey found him trailing Obama 66-23, almost identical to his standing last fall, and congruent with the final 67-31 Obama win in this demographic in 2008.