Hispanic support for GOP remains steady

Hispanics make up about 11% of the US population and are having a growing impact on politics in America. But despite what is described as an "anti-immigrant" attitude among Donald Trump and Republicans, support for the GOP among the Hispanic community remains constant.

Associated Press:

Though Latino voters are a key part of the Democratic coalition, there is a larger bloc of reliable Republican Latinos than many think. And the GOP’s position among Latinos has not weakened during the Trump administration, despite the president’s rhetoric against immigrants and the party’s shift to the right on immigration.

In November’s elections, 32 percent of Latinos voted for Republicans, according to AP VoteCast data. The survey of more than 115,000 midterm voters — including 7,738 Latino voters — was conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Other surveys also found roughly one-third of Latinos supporting the GOP. Data from the Pew Research Center and from exit polls suggests that a comparable share of about 3 in 10 Latino voters supported Trump in 2016. That tracks the share of Latinos supporting Republicans for the last decade.

The stability of Republicans’ share of the Latino vote frustrates Democrats, who say actions like Trump’s family separation policy and his demonization of an immigrant caravan should drive Latinos out of the GOP.

“The question is not are Democrats winning the Hispanic vote — it’s why aren’t Democrats winning the Hispanic vote 80-20 or 90-10 the way black voters are?” said Fernand Amandi, a Miami-based Democratic pollster. He argues Democrats must invest more in winning Latino voters.

That Democrats even ask this question is revealing. The way that Democrats play identity politics is to put people of different races, creeds, and ethnicities in different boxes. It's a one size fits all box, with no room to recognize differences within.

When it comes to Hispanics, it becomes vital to understand those differences. Cubans have been a reliable Republican vote in Florida for 40 years. Mexican immigrants vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. Other Hispanic groups are suprisingly diverse.

And the demographic breakdown yields some surprises:

There doesn't appear to be a breakdown of political support by nationality, probably because with the exception of Cubans and Mexicans, there aren't enough voters from specific countries to get an accurate tally. 

But there is one group that continues to support Republicans; evangelical Hispanics:

Evangelicals comprised about one-quarter of Latino voters, and veterans were 13 percent. Both groups were about evenly split between the two parties. Mike Madrid, a Republican strategist in California, said those groups have reliably provided the GOP with many Latino votes for years.

“They stick and they do not go away,” Madrid said. Much as with Trump’s own core white voters, attacks on the president and other Republicans for being anti-immigrant “just make them dig in even more,” he added.

Sacramento-based Rev. Sam Rodriguez, one of Trump’s spiritual advisers, said evangelical Latinos have a clear reason to vote Republican. “Why do 30 percent of Latinos still support Trump? Because of the Democratic Party’s obsession with abortion,” Rodriguez said. “It’s life and religious liberty and everything else follows.”

The evangelical Christian movement in Central and South America is growing by leaps and bounds. There has been some resistance in these mostly Catholic countries, but protestant outreach to these souls is transforming their societies. It stands to reason that as more evangelicals immigrate to the US, the Republican share of the Hispanic vote will grow accordingly.

Predictions that Hispanics would flee the GOP because of Trump have not come to pass. It's going to take more than biased news about Republicans and Trump to drive Latino voters away from the GOP.

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