“A Brand Problem for Republicans”

Here’s some useful number-crunching from NBC’s First Read:

In the new MSNBC/Telemundo poll, which contained a Latino oversample, Democrats enjoy a 31-point advantage in party ID among Latinos, 47%-16%, with 36% identifying themselves as independents. That’s compared with Democrats having 7-point advantage among all voters in the poll. But get this: Political ideology among Latinos is almost identical to all voters.

Latinos: 27% liberal, 39% moderate, 35% conservative

All voters: 29% liberal, 35% moderate, 36% conservative

In other words, there are PLENTY of conservative Latinos. They’re just not willing to identify themselves as Republicans. Here’s another way to look at this, according to the Marist pollsters who conducted the poll:

Among all national adults who identify themselves as conservative: 50% are Republicans, 31% are independent, and 17% are Democrats

Among Latinos who identify themselves as conservative: just 23% are Republicans, 49% are independent, and 26% are Democrats.

Bottom line: This is a brand problem for Republicans. This is why so many Republicans believe that the minute you get immigration out of the way, the GOP might be able to win over more Latinos. The problem: Immigration isn’t going away.

And this is why Republicans are so interested in discounting the Latino vote in presidential elections (you know, they’re mostly in non-competitive states like CA and TX; they vote at low levels, etc. etc.). They’ve really trapped themselves with this rapidly growing demographic, and really have no strategy for getting out other than secretly hoping immigration issues will get taken care of without their involvement.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.