Are things as bad as the Los Angeles Times pollster said after some similar findings, "I don't know how any Republican thinks they can win in California?" Is it hopeless to think California Republicans can capture a larger share of the Latino vote?
The simple answer to that is no, but there is also work to be done to convince California Latinos that the Republican Party and its candidates can effectively represent them. Contrary to the Times' prophecy, we believe Republicans can win again in California based on key issues:
- More than seven-in-ten voters will consider a candidate who says, "secure the border first, stop illegal immigration, then find a way to address the status of people already here illegally" (73 percent favorable reaction).
- More than six-in-ten Latino voters are likely to consider voting for a GOP candidate who would "ensure all children had a chance at a first rate education" (69 percent), who they agreed with on improving the economy and creating jobs (65 percent) and with whom they agree on protecting America from terrorists (63 percent).
- Latino voters are more pro-life on abortion (45 percent say they are pro-choice, 45 percent pro-life) than voters are statewide (56 percent of voters statewide say they are pro-choice and 36 percent pro-life).
- Philosophically, a third are self described "Conservatives," a third are Moderate and a quarter are Liberal. Their ideological makeup is significantly more Conservative than that of Democratic voters.
- Finally, Latino voters are more likely to be regular church attendees than the statewide voting population - 43 percent of Latino voters attend church once a week or more often, compared to just 32 percent among the California electorate as a whole.
The 2010 election results for Republicans were, to be charitable, disappointing. We know from CNN exit poll data that the two top Republicans on the ballot, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, received approximately 30 percent of the Latino votes cast - not nearly enough to win. Clearly, Republican candidates must do better and must set their sights on earning at least 40 percent of these votes, if they are to have a reasonable expectation of gaining statewide office. Based on this very preliminary data we believe over time, this is an achievable goal but it will take a sustained and focused communications effort based on issues such as education and job creation. Further, this work can't wait until a few weeks before the next election - the work must begin today.
To read more about this survey, click here.