Bettina Inclan has quite the task in her first election as the Republican National Committee’s Director of Hispanic Outreach — making inroads with a demographic that has traditionally shunned the Republican Party. In 1980, Ronald Reagan told top adviser for Hispanic outreach Lionel Sosa that he would have an easy job. Here’s what happened in the 1980 election, according to exit polls from the Roper centre at the University of Connecticut:
Photo: Roper centre
And here’s what happened in the 2008 election with Barack Obama and John McCain:
So, not much has changed.
Still, conservatives like Inclan believe they can lure voters to the Republican ticket with a brand new approach and strategy that includes state directors of Hispanic outreach in six battleground states.
So, how is it looking for this year?
A Fox News poll found that Hispanics would support Barack Obama 70 per cent to 14 per cent in February. That was before Romney all but secured the nomination, however. Here is the silver lining from that poll:
Photo: Fox News
These are the voters Inclan and the RNC think they can convince, along with some of the 500,000 new voters that will turn 18 this year.
“I wouldn’t put too much stock in any poll numbers this early on,” Inclan said. “Poll numbers shift on a daily basis.”
And how much would Marco Rubio change things? One polling organisation, Public Policy Polling, doesn’t think it would do much. That’s because Rubio didn’t poll well himself among Hispanic voters outside of Cuban voters in the 2010 Florida Senate election. And because of Hispanics’ overwhelmingly negative opinion of Mitt Romney.
Rubio’s favorability with Hispanics nationally is 35/42. Without Rubio on the ticket Obama leads Romney 68-30 with them, with Rubio on the ticket it’s cut only to 67-32.
Sosa, who has worked on seven different presidential campaigns, thinks that Rubio would make a significant difference, however. He estimates that without Rubio, Romney would get “between 28 and 33 per cent” of the Hispanic vote. With Rubio, Romney could earn up to the mid-40s as Rubio becomes a more nationally known figure.
“What I’ve learned after eight presidential campaigns is that, No. 1, s*** happens,” Sosa said. “And No. 2, things change. All these polls today could be totally out the window by November, depending on what happens along the way.”
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