Monday, January 9, 2012

Conservatives vs. Hispanics?

I came across an article entitled "Public Opinion Snapshot: Conservatives versus Hispanics" from the Center for American Progress (CAP), which identifies itself as progressive. The premise behind the article is that the Republican Party's stance on immigration puts it at odds with the Hispanic community. CAP uses the Hispanic support for the Dream Act, as well as allowing illegal immigrants to attend college at in-state tuition rates, as evidence of how "anti-Hispanic" the GOP is. The ultimate conclusion is that the GOP will pay for its views on immigration in November.

Although immigration policy has a greater impact on the Hispanic community than it does other demographics in this country, viewing the Hispanics as one-issue voters is over-simplified. That's like saying Jewish voters only care about Israel, gay voters only care about gay rights, and that Catholics only care about abortion.

AP and UnivisiĆ³n did a survey of Hispanics back in 2010. A majority (i.e., 65%) of those surveyed were most worried about the state of the economy and unemployment rates. The current unemployment rate of the Hispanic community is currently at 11.0%, which is higher than the recently-reported national unemployment rate of 8.5%. The Hispanic community has been hit hard by the current state of the economy. Is it any wonder that by looking at the Gallup poll and the even more recent Ipsos-Telemundo poll, Obama's approval rating amongst Hispanics is at an all-time low?

Also, looking at campaign promises that Obama made with regard to immigration, he did not adequately keep a single one. Obama's inability to deliver on immigration reform also factors into his low approval ratings in the Hispanic community.

However, this is not to say that the GOP is exactly a fantastic alternative to Obama. Their stance on immigration reform has typically been "put up a fence and enforce our laws on illegal immigration." Such an attitude comes off as hostile towards the Hispanic community. The Republicans would have to come up with a more comprehensive immigration reform plan to put in their party platform if they want an overwhelming support from the Hispanic population. This might be a good idea since the Hispanic accounted for a majority of the population growth in the past decade.

Even if the GOP decides not to change its immigration stance [right away], they can still gain a number of Hispanic votes by appealing to them with promises of job creation, something which has not been a strong suit during Obama's term in office. Although the GOP will have a difficult time convincing Hispanics to vote Republican, the Hispanic vote is anything but a guarantee for Obama and the Democrats in the upcoming elections.

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