Admittedly it’s early, and polls conducted in May 2014 about the 2016 elections are about as reliable as the weather forecast for November 2016. But Republicans – those running for president and those in Congress – would be wise to have a look at a new Zogby Analytics poll matching up Hillary Clinton and three of the Republican front-runners for 2016.
No Republican contender is more overtly supportive of amnesty for illegal aliens than former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Neither his support for amnesty, nor his brother’s appeal among Hispanics (George W. Bush captured about 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004) appears to impress Hispanic voters.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul can’t seem to make up his mind about where he stands on amnesty. He voted against S.744, the Gang of Eight bill, but he continues to flirt with the idea of amnesty as a cornerstone of immigration reform. Being indecisive on immigration policy stands him somewhat more favorably than Jeb Bush among Hispanic voters, but still miles behind Clinton.
Apparently, if you are Republican, and you really want to impress Hispanic voters, your best bet is to create hellish traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge. Faring best among Hispanic voters is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie – relatively speaking. In spite of his open support for amnesty, Christie still trails Clinton by better than a 3-1 margin.
It is also worth noting that all three of the Republican contenders matched up against Mrs. Clinton – even those who support amnesty – poll worse among Hispanics than the party’s 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, who registered about 27 percent of the Hispanic vote.
The take-away message to Republicans – whether they are running for the White House in 2016 or for other offices in 2014 – is that supporting amnesty and mass immigration is not the key to winning Hispanic votes. Hispanic voters, like the rest of the electorate, are focused on bread and butter issues and, if Republicans want their votes, they’d be far better off trying to convince Hispanics that they have a plan to fix the economy and get Americans of all racial or ethnic groups back to work.