Latino Polling and Politics Experts Agree, Remaining GOP Contenders Are Destroying Potential Competitiveness with Latino Voters
Washington, DC – On a press call today (January 5), experts on Latino voters, the politics of immigration, and the DREAM Act highlighted how Mitt Romney's recent pledge to veto the DREAM Act will imperil his chances in the general election.
Romney's comments sit right at home with the GOP field, which has continued to stick to a strategy of tacking to the hard right on immigration throughout the primary season. However, as speakers discussed today, findings from an updated America's Voice report suggest that this strategy only serves to threaten the GOP's chances in the general election.
Eliseo Medina, International Secretary Treasurer of SEIU, assessed the current state of play regarding the immigration debate, Latino voters, and the 2012 presidential race. "It’s not looking good for anti-immigrant Mitt here. Latino voters are paying attention to how Republicans talk about them, and their rejection of sensible programs like the DREAM Act are not playing well with the community. Republicans think if they don’t appear in Hispanic media or at Hispanic venues Latinos won’t know what they’re up to—well, guess what? We speak English too. They can run but they can’t hide."
Supporting the DREAM Act means everything to the Latino community. According to Lorella Praeli, Member of the National Coordinating Committee for United We Dream, "For our communities, the DREAM Act has been a litmus test of whether a policy maker stands with us or against us. We’ve never heard a candidate for president say they’d veto the DREAM Act and we won’t stand for it now. Candidates should remember that language matters, and our communities are listening, and that we as DREAMers will make sure that our families and friends know where these candidates and policy makers stand."
As the polls show, taking a hardline stance on immigration--and the DREAM Act in particular--will hurt GOP candidates with Latino voters, and is unpopular with the general electorate as well. Polling from impreMedia and Latino Decisions in February 2011 shows that 58% of all voters support the DREAM Act. In addition, 84% of Latino voters continue to overwhelmingly support the DREAM Act.
Latino polling expert Matt Barreto, Political Science Professor at University of Washington and Principal at Latino Decisions, furthered this research by saying, "Poll after poll shows that a clear majority of the American public, and over 80% of