By Kevin “Coach” Collins
Pandering to Hispanics will be a serious mistake for the presumptive Republican nominee. A new Public Policy Poll (PPP) – a self acknowledged Democrat surveying firm – of a large number of Hispanic Florida Colorado and New Mexico respondents, spoken to in both English and Spanish, provides a clear warning for “What’s His Name” not to pick a Vice Presidential candidate merely based on ethnicity.
The poll results make it very clear that Hispanics should be appealed to on the same grounds as everyone else who realizes we are in danger of losing our country. It found the economy is the number one issue Hispanics will be thinking about as they go to the polls.
In both Colorado and New Mexico, when asked for a reaction to a Hispanic Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Hispanics said they would still vote 2 to 1 for Barack Obama over the presumptive GOP candidate. In Florida the spread is much closer and probably reflects Hispanic pride in Marco Rubio, but Sunshine State Hispanics would still vote 52/44 for Obama.
Nevertheless, the news for Republicans in regards to the Hispanic vote is not necessarily bad. While there is a shortage of current data on the percentage of Hispanics who are enthusiastic to vote, the best available information (collected last November) shows just 38% of Hispanic voters enthusiastic to vote. Moreover, not only is Hispanic voter enthusiasm down to dangerous levels for Obama, the raw number of Hispanics who are even registered to vote has fallen by some two million just since 2008.
Given the great likelihood of those Hispanics who are enthusiastic to vote being Republican supporters, the best course for the presumptive Republican candidate to follow in regard to Hispanics would be to not add a Hispanic to his ticket unless he/she appeals to a wide spectrum of voters as an acceptable choice strictly on his/her merits.
At this point we don’t know if a Marco Rubio or anyone else can appeal to voters absent a Hispanic background. That remains to be determined. Until then no one should be offered the Republican VP spot merely on ethnicity.
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