Friday, May 4, 2012

If you were a GOP operative

Here's a news item I found interesting:
Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney Super PAC, is up today with a $4.3 million ad buy across nine battleground states. But what’s been amazing is that even though the president is getting outspent by outside groups left and right, the one place opponents aren’t even COMPETING is on Hispanic media outlets. Republicans are not on air on Hispanic media AT ALL so far, according to NBC/Smart Media Delta. President Obama, on the other hand, is going unchecked for two weeks, spending $435,000 – and $730,000 total so far this cycle – through mid-May with Hispanic media buys in Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Tampa, and Miami.
Are the Republicans ceding the Hispanic vote to Democrats?

That's certainly what it looked like in the primaries - with all the nativist talk about supporting Arizona's immigration law and border fences and vetoing the Dream Act. But we're supposed to be beyond all that now and firmly into etch-a-sketch territory, aren't we?

It brings us back to a question we've been asking for over a year now: If you were a GOP operative, would you counsel your candidate to run up your totals with your white male base support or run the risk of losing them by reaching out to Hispanics with real policy positions that are important to them.

In the 2008 election, President Obama won 43% of the white vote. Last year Ron Brownstein noted that with demographic changes, he could now win with around 40%. I recently read an article (sorry, can't find it now) that documented the number at about 38% - which is where Gallup has his approval rating right now (although that's a different question than who people will actually vote for - I suspect that number is higher).

From the story above, it appears as though the GOP strategy will be to give platitudes about reaching out to Hispanic voters, but to avoid talking to them directly about policies for fear that would endanger support from their base.

We all know that's a short-term strategy they will certainly have to deal with in the future. But it also means we're likely to being hearing dog whistles from Republicans during this cycle to beef up that nativist vote as much as possible.

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