Hispanic vote didn't 'break' Romney
After moments of panic in the immediate aftermath of Mitt Romney's defeat, some Republicans and conservatives are regaining their equilibrium on the issue of what the GOP should do about immigration and the Hispanic vote.
The first question is whether Hispanic voters gave Obama his margin of victory. In a recent analysis, The New York Times' Allison Kopicki and Will Irving looked at vote totals in each state, plus the percentage of the vote cast by Hispanics, to see what the outcome would have been had Hispanics voted differently.
For example, they looked at Wisconsin, a state the Romney-Ryan team hoped to win. Hispanics weren't a huge part of the total vote — about 4 percent, according to the exit polls — and Obama won big among them, 65 percent to 31 percent. But going through the totals, Kopicki and Irving concluded that even if every single Hispanic voter in Wisconsin had cast a ballot for Romney, Obama still would have won.
They found the same result for New Hampshire and Iowa, two other swing states Romney looked to win.
Then there was Ohio. According to the exit polls, Obama won 53 percent of the Hispanic vote there. But given how decisively Obama won other voting groups, Kopicki and Irving found that the president would have prevailed in Ohio even if he had won just 22 percent of the Hispanic vote.
In Virginia, Obama won the Latino vote 65 percent to 33 percent. Kopicki and Irving found that if those numbers had been reversed — if Romney had won an unprecedented 65 percent of the Latino vote — Obama still would have won Virginia.
Even in states where the Hispanic vote played a bigger role, Romney could have made significant gains among Hispanics and still lost. In Colorado, for example, the president won Hispanics by a huge margin, 75 percent to 23 percent. Kopicki and Irving found that Romney could have increased his margin to 42 percent — a major improvement for a Republican — and still come up short in Colorado.
The bottom line is that even if Romney had made historic gains among Hispanic voters, he still would have lost the election. Then there is the question of what motivates Hispanic voters.
“They should be a natural Republican constituency: striving immigrant community, religious, Catholic, family-oriented and socially conservative (on abortion, for example),” columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote Nov. 8. “The principal reason they go Democratic is the issue of illegal immigrants.”
Some other conservatives echoed Krauthammer's sentiments. But social scientist Charles Murray looked across a broad range of data and found little to support the notion that Hispanics are natural Republicans. Hispanics “aren't more religious than everyone else ... aren't married more than everyone else ... aren't more conservative than everyone else,” Murray wrote.
The available data, Murray concluded, “paint a portrait that gives no reason to think that Republicans have an untapped pool of social conservatives to help them win elections.”
None of this is to say the GOP shouldn't seek more Hispanic votes. There are opportunities; for example, Romney made significant inroads among Hispanic voters with college degrees. But the fact is, Republicans had a serious problem with lots of voters, as well as potential voters who didn't go to the polls. The Hispanic vote was just part of it.
Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Marte’s 2 fine defensive plays rescue Pirates in victory over Reds
- Comets hold life building blocks
- Rossi: Nothing huge, but Huntington helped Bucs
- Steelers OLB coach Porter teaches as passionately as he played
- Pirates trade for Dodgers 1B/OF Morse, Mariners LHP Happ
- Inside The Steelers: LB Williams dominates backs-on-backers drill at Latrobe Memorial Stadium
- 2 wounded in Munhall, Homestead drive-by shootings
- 2014 showing has Steelers RB Harris confident he belongs
- LaBar: Piper’s influence can’t be understated
- Gas meter struck, road temporarily closed near Armbrust Wesleyan Church
- Armstrong escapee caught; murder charges pending