In recent elections the Latino vote has trended toward Democratic candidates. However, the GOP has begun to focus more of its campaigns on securing the Latino vote, and is emphasizing the Republican interest in immigration reform to do that. The GOP is trying new initiatives to change Latinos’ perception of their party because the voter base for Republicans is shrinking.
According to Pew Research’s Hispanic Trends Project, only 27 percent of Latinos voted for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012, while 71 percent pledged their support for Democrat incumbent Barack Obama. Many Latino voters explained that their view of Romney and his party was that Republicans would be unwilling to support minorities in the U.S.
The Republican party is addressing this issue by reserving $10 million to attract Latino voters in states that are very diverse, like California. By establishing a permanent presence in Latino communities, not just during election cycles, the Republican National Party hopes to encourage Latino support for its cause. The GOP seems to be more aware today that it needs more minority votes to have a legitimate chance of occupying the White House in 2016.
Latino Decisions and an immigrant advocacy group called America’s Voice conducted a poll of Hispanic voters and found that Latinos would be more likely to vote for a Republican presidential candidate that endorses immigration reform. But while Republicans are eager to secure more Latino votes, their focus is still on border security, rather than on aiding immigrants on a path to citizenship. Many conservatives believe granting citizenship to undocumented immigrants is considered amnesty. Latino voters are concerned with deportation and whether crack downs on undocumented immigrants will lead to more families being separated, a topic Republicans need to address before the next election cycle.