Every party has a bad offyear sometimes; Republicans did in 2006. Sooner or later they recover. But in the crosstabs of polls and in party strategists’ moves I see evidence that one group Democrats have been counting on is moving away from them: Hispanics.
Hispanics voted 71 percent for Barack Obama in 2012, 20 points above his national average of 51 percent. According to Gallup, Hispanics’ latest Obama job approval has sunk to 44 percent, just 3 points above the national average.
You probably haven’t heard much about this because Hispanics are scarce in all but one of the states with serious Senate races this year.
Michael Barone went on to note some potential examples of this dissatisfaction. To begin with, the DCCC has abandoned three challengers (one in Colorado, two in California), all three of whom were considered good pickup opportunities because of large Hispanic populations. There was also the Angela Giron recall election in Colorado’s state Senate: Geron lost her recall despite representing a district that was over 40% Hispanic. Lastly: the poor showing of Wendy Davis in the Texas governor’s race is for many reasons, to be sure… but the fact that she did horribly among Hispanic voters in the primary is probably not one of the least of those reasons.
All in all, there is some argument to be made that Hispanic voters are not nearly as reliable for Democrats as the Democrats would like to think. This is not to say, of course, that the standard Republican gambit – Give them immigration reform / pro-life legislation!* – is actually any better. I think that what is happening here is that both parties are trying to imagine what Hispanic voters should be collectively interested in, and catering to that: which is admittedly easier than figuring out what those voters are actually interested in, but not necessarily smarter. Or even smart at all, really. After all, in a binary situation like this somebody has to be ‘right:’ but if the party that’s ‘right’ learns the wrong lessons from it, they’ll pay for it pretty quickly next time… and probably then the other party will learn the wrong lessons from that, too.
Oh, well, I guess that it keeps the consultants paid.
*Depending on who you ask.