The Washington Times - October 20, 2008, 06:44PM

A new Zogby poll of Hispanic voters says Barack Obama is clobbering John McCain, 70-21 percent.

That’s about half of the 40 percent George Bush won in 2004, and matches the recent low-point for Republicans in 1996, when Bob Dole collected just 21 percent of Hispanics’ votes on the way to a drubbing at the hands of Bill Clinton.

The difference is that it comes for a candidate who, more than any other Republican on the national stage, can claim to have tried to win Hispanics. Early in his congressional career McCain supported what at the time he called amnesty, opposed English-only efforts was telling Arizona Republicans to look to Hispanics for their future. He was so eager to win Hispanic votes he actually voted against the 1986 amnesty because he felt the work verification requirements were too harsh to Hispanics.

But here’s the problem for Republicans: Losing Hispanics by that margin would be a giant setback for those like McCain who want to see legalization, since it will only add more evidence to those such as Tom Tancredo who argue Republicans will never be able to outbid Democrats on the issue.

Stephen Dinan, national political correspondent, The Washington Times