- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hispanics are more than twice as likely to be Democrats as they are to be Republicans, according to polling by Gallup released Thursday, a survey that calls into question how much room there is for Republicans to compete for Hispanic voters.

Gallup found just 30 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics whose parents were also born in the U.S. identified themselves as Republican, while 64 percent identified as Democratic. The rest were independent.

Of those born outside the U.S., the numbers were just as stark: Just 25 percent said they leaned toward the GOP, while 57 percent sided with Democrats — though a higher proportion, 16 percent, said they were independent.

“Hispanic immigrants are more likely to identify as independents and slightly less likely to identify as Republicans than are Hispanics born in the U.S., but all Hispanics — regardless of nativity — remain significantly more Democratic than Republican, by more than a 2-to-1 margin,” Gallup said.

The numbers for those born in the U.S. suggest that there is some room, but not a lot, for the GOP to grow beyond the 27 percent of Hispanics that exit polling showed voted for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in last year’s elections.

Hispanics overall also give President Obama high job-approval numbers, ranging from 59 percent approval among Hispanics who are at least second-generation Americans, up to a stunning 79 percent among foreign-born Hispanics. Gallup’s polling found that about half of all Hispanics were born outside the U.S.

The numbers come as Republican leaders argue their party cannot survive in the long term unless GOP members in Congress help pass a bill legalizing illegal immigrants, a bill seen as critical to Hispanic voters, many of whom know a family member or friend who is here illegally.

Those GOP elites argue that Hispanics tend to be conservative and would be open to Republican appeals if the party could overcome an image that it is anti-immigrant.

But other Republicans have argued that demographically speaking, Hispanic voters resemble Democratic voters based on income, on welfare program use and on attitudes toward government.

Gallup’s findings also poke a hole in the argument by some strategists that when Hispanics assimilate into the U.S. after several generations, they look like all other voters.

“This significant Democratic advantage among Hispanics, regardless of whether they are U.S.-born or immigrants, suggests that simply waiting for Hispanics to assimilate will not be a successful strategy for Republicans hoping to capture a greater percentage of the Hispanic vote,” Gallup said.

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