A new study says Republicans are in dire straits because the party is so unpopular among Latinos.
"Republicans have run out of persuadable white voters," says the analysis by the conservative Resurgent Republic and the Hispanic Leadership Network. "For the fifth time in the past six presidential elections, Republicans lost the popular vote. Trying to win a national election by gaining a larger and larger share of a smaller and smaller portion of the electorate is a losing political proposition."
"To be competitive nationally in the future," the study adds, "Republicans must do better among non-white Americans, especially Hispanics and Asians. If Republicans achieve 40 percent or more of Hispanics nationally, they can elect conservative Republicans to national office. Settling for a quarter or less of the Hispanic vote nationally will relegate Republicans to a regional party with few national prospects."
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lost the Hispanic vote to President Barack Obama by 44 percentage points, 27 to 71, in the November election.
White Americans, who voted solidly for Romney, made up 72 percent of the national electorate, a declining share in recent years, but non-white voters made up 28 percent, the highest percentage in history. Hispanics alone constituted 10 percent of the national electorate, up from nine percent in 2008. "That is a sign of things to come," the study says.
The survey and accompanying poll focused on Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and New Mexico, four key states where the Latino vote is crucial. The Hispanic percentage of the electorate grew from 14 to 17 percent in Florida between 2008 and 2012; from 13 to 14 in Colorado, and from 15 to 18 in Nevada. In New Mexico, the Hispanic percentage went down from 41 to 37, "perhaps because New Mexico was essentially conceded to Obama by both campaigns early on," the analysis says.
In each of these four states, majorities of Hispanic voters said the Republican party is "anti-immigrant," while huge majorities of Hispanic voters said the Democratic party "understands the needs and concerns of Hispanics." Supporting immigration reform would a good first step toward improving the GOP's standing among Latinos, according to the study.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Facebook and Twitter.