March 20, 2011

Winning Latino Voters: Another Poll Buries The Lead

Latina conservatives do exist.
There's a way to deliver bad news.  There's also a way to deliver good news. The way Moore Information delivered it's news about it's polling in Latino voters and the GOP in California is not a good example of either.  It is however an example of burying the lead.

Moore conducted a poll and summarized it's results with this paragraph on it's main page:

“This poll demonstrates that Republicans have a lot of work to do with Latinos if the party hopes to gain more support from these voters. Based on this very preliminary data we believe, over time, they can achieve that as long as there is a sustained and focused effort to communicate with Latino voters on issues such as education and job creation..."
The poll indicates some obvious results:  Latinos trust Democrats on immigration reform more than Republican. The biggest issues concerning Republicans by those polled are that the GOP are perceived as the party of the rich and/or are selfish. Most importantly 61% of likely Latino voters for 2012 are registered Democrat. 

But there's some very important insights in the poll that are buried much further in and/or easily glossed over.  Namely:
  • By a wide margin jobs and the economy is the number one issue among Latino voters.
  • The following statement had a positive reaction from 73% of respondents: "Secure the border first, stop illegal immigration, then find a way to address the status of people already here illegally.”
  • 69% of Latino voters would consider voting for a Republican in they disagreed on immigration but agreed with the candidate on securing a first rate education for everyone.  That number was actually 71% for supporters of Democrats.
  • 65% would consider the GOP candidate under the same disagreement if they still agreed on jobs and the economy 
  • Latino voters are skewed more pro-life (45%) than the general California population (36%).
  • Latinos have a much lower negative favorability rating of the Tea Party movement (-6%) than of the GOP (-14%).  That means the Tea Party message is either resonating better or getting out there more effectively than the message of the GOP. 
All of these bullet points represent MAJOR opportunities for Republican candidates (and not necessarily just in California) that come down to one thing: messaging.  Jobs and education and to a lesser extent social conservatism can potentially outshine a disagreement on immigration.  Focus on the children and the future.  Focus on growth and jobs at a personalized level, not for the economy as a whole. The reason for immigration is about a hope for a better future for families.  That's how America was grown to what it has become.  Immigration itself can even be a winning issue if conservatives can position themselves to be focused on border security first but also agree to address the status of illegals already here.  The latter part not necessarily need mean amnesty. 

The last point worth considering is that the Tea Party negatives aren't as low as the GOP's.  Couple that with the fact that the biggest concerns about the GOP are that they are selfish and the party of the rich.  What does that indicate when viewed as a whole?  The Tea Party is closer to the voters - more local - and as a result is more connected and can make a better case for itself that it is not a group of rich white racists but just people concerned about government.  Being able to talk to the person next door is a far bigger lever than a TV ad.  It's all about outreach as I said two years ago.

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