Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How Badly Will GOP Anti-Latino Presidential Campaigns Hurt Their Party In Congressional Races?


Latino Decisions released a new poll yesterday that sought to gage the reaction of Hispanic voters to the tenor of the Republican presidential campaign and how the GOP candidates talk about Hispanic-Americans. The survey included only registered voters and the short version os that "hostile rhetoric from Republican presidential candidates gives Latino voters a strong, negative impression of the Republican Party. The sense that Republicans are hostile to the Latino community has significantly increased since the 2012 election."

Despite Trump's claims that he will "win the Hispanics," the information from actual Hispanics don't bear that out. When asked if Trump's statements that "Mexico is sending immigrants who are drug dealers, criminals and rapists to the United States" and his vow to "deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants" including "any U.S. born children who have undocumented parents" and to build a large wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico border, 68% of participants said Trump has given them a "very unfavorable" impression of the Republican Party and another 12% said that they came away with a "somewhat unfavorable impression" of the party. That's 80%.

When asked to describe how the Republican Party feels about Latinos today, 45% said it was hostile, 39% said the GOP doesn't care about Latinos and just 16% said the GOP truly cares about Latinos. This is significantly worse as you can see from the chart below than how Latinos perceived the GOP in 2012, when Romney lost the Latino vote by a very wide margin. In fact, when Latino failed to impress Latino voters only 18% said they felt the GOP was hostile towards them. Today that figured has more than doubled to 45%.

In order of unfavorability this is how the Hispanic voters rated the Republican candidates
Trump- 71%
Cruz- 40%
Rubio- 40%
Bush- 37%
Fiorina- 28%
Carson- 17%
Only Bush and Carson had favorables exceeding-- in both cases, narrowly-- their unfavorables, with Bush at 42% favorable and Carson at 25% favorable (although most of respondents either had no opinion of Carson or had never heard of him-- 58%).

The states polled were Florida, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, Georgia, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, and Michigan, which are not just presidential battleground states but congressional battlegrounds as well. Combined, these 14 states have right around 4 million Latino registered voters. Most of them-- Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire and North Carolina-- have competitive Senate races and all of them have competitive House races.

Let's take a look at a sprinkling of House races where the Latino vote is expected to be decisive to the reelection efforts of Republican incumbents.

CO-06- Mike Coffman was reelected in 2014 with 141,221 votes (52%) against Andrew Romanoff, a very imperfect candidate with a mixed and confusing record. Although Obama had won this suburban Denver district two years earlier with 52%, Romanoff only managed 42.9% despite it being a D+1 district where 17% of the voters are Latino and where 36.2% of the newly eligible voters are Asian, Latinos and naturalized immigrants. This year Colorado Democrats have a much stronger candidate in state Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll, a progressive with widespread support.

NV-04- Cresent Hardy beat Democratic incumbent Steven Hosford last year in a very tight, very low-turnout race-- 63,435 (48.5%) to 59,800 (45.8%). Most of the voters live in Clark County, especially in North Las Vegas and the surrounding suburbs. The district is 30% Hispanic and, district-wide, Democrats have a 46-33% registration advantage. Obama won NV-04 in 2008 with 56% and in 2012 with 54%. The likely Democratic nominee is Blue America-endorsed Ruben Kihuen, a member of the state legislature since 2006 and, more recently the state Senate's Democratic Whip, and an immigrant himself, as a child, from Guadalajara.

IA-03- David Young is a Republican freshman who managed to get into office because of DCCC incompetence in 2014 and a weak opponent. This year the southwest Iowa district, which includes Des Moines and Council Bluffs and which gave Obama wins in both 2008 (52%) and 2012 (51%), has a heated primary with 6 Democrats looking to take on the extremely vulnerable Young. Although just 5% of the voters are Latino, 15.4% of newly eligible voters are Asian, Latino and naturalized immigrants.

FL-27- is a majority Hispanic district (75%) where Obama won against McCain with 51% and against Romney with 53%. The district gets bluer by the day and would be a natural takeover spot for the Democrats except for one problemo-- well, 2 actually: Debbie WassermanSchultz and Steve Israel who adamantly protect their conservative Republican crony Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, usually by sabotaging plausible Democratic challengers early in the process and guaranteeing that Ros-Lehtinen never has a serious election. This year, for example, when you go to the website of the two "challengers" the first thing you see on David Cruz-Wiggins' is a quote: "I am a poet obedient to Christ." He is an anti-Choice/anti-LGBT walking freak show with no business running as a Democrat-- but perfect for the Debbie Wasserman Schultz/Steve Israel sabotage plan. The other Democrat, Frank Perez, is a military candidate with no issues or policy positions on his childish website, just a few paragraphs about his time in the military. There is no District 32 in Florida. 84% of newly eligible voters in this district are Asian, Latino and immigrants. Apparently they will have to wait until Debbie Wasserman Schultz is defeated before they can get a serious candidate against Ros-Lehtinen. I just spoke to a major figure in the Miami Democratic Party who told me that neither will probably be able to pay the fees required to get on the ballot.

Beyond these districts, the bigoted and hateful Republican presidential campaign rhetoric is likely to help progressives win seats across the country, from Suffolk County on Long Island, where Peter King is in jeopardy out to California where Lou Vince is running against anti-immigrant wing nut, Steve Knight, in a newly blue district. Latino voters are lalso ikely to play key roles in electing Blue America-backed Senate candidates in Florida (Alan Grayson), Maryland (Donna Edwards) and Wisconsin (Russ Feingold). If you'd like to help our Senate and House candidates, all on one page, you can do that here. Or by tapping on the thermometer:

Goal Thermometer

A tiny and basically unrelated footnote: Not many people noticed he was running for president but Louisiana's super-unpopular governor (disapproval there is around 70%), Bobby Jindal, dropped out this afternoon. His greatest moment was when he called called Trump "a carnival act," as well as "unstable," & "a narcissist."

His likely successor as governor, John Bel Edwards, on hearing the news, said "The people of Iowa and New Hampshire have come to know what we know: Bobby Jindal's failed policies, the ones that would be continued and expanded by David Vitter, are about promoting self interest over the common interest."

This week's UMass poll found that Jindal's voters (around 1%) will be split 3 ways:
Dr. Ben 66%
Fiorina 31%
Rubio 3%
The kiddie table is going to be even lonelier next time. I guess they could let Lindsey Graham and George Pataki back in. Bye-bye, Piyush...

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