The number of Hispanic voters nationally and in New Mexico is growing at a faster pace than any other ethnic group, and that could spell trouble for the Republican party over the next 10 years, a political analyst with a business advocacy group said Tuesday.
“Republicans are in trouble with Hispanics,” said Michael Davis, the Washington, D.C.-based vice president for political programs of the Business and Industry PAC. The party’s stance on immigration may not be bad policy, David said, “but the tone and language is extremely harsh and it drives away Hispanics.”
Davis was speaking a luncheon sponsored by the New Mexico Prosperity Project.
Either party can improve its chances of national electoral success if a national Hispanic political leader emerges, Davis said.
Polling of voters shows there is no such person today, but Hispanic Republicans won three statewide races in 2010, including the governorship of New Mexico.
One of those politicians might emerge as a national figure and improve Republican electoral chances, Davis said.
Though there are many Hispanic Republicans, and in states like Florida Hispanic voters tend to be more conservative, Hispanics voted in large numbers for Barack Obama in 2008, Davis said. Texas went for Arizona Sen. John McCain with 56 percent of the vote, but Hispanic Texans went 63 percent for Obama.
Between 2005 and 2010 the number of Hispanic voters grew 20.6 percent while Anglo voter growth was 2.8 percent. Growth in the Great Lakes states was even faster, Davis said. The Hispanic voting population grew 40 percent in Ohio and in Indiana.
In New Mexico, Davis said, 58.2 percent of the population younger than 18 years is Hispanic. “Every year for the next 20 years, there will be 500,000 more U.S.-born Hispanics of voting age,” he said.
That demographic change will have far greater effect on voting patterns than redistricting as a result of the 2010 census, Davis said.
Hispanic population growth in Texas and those voters’ tendency to vote for Democrats will mean Texas will flip from Republican to Democrat by 2020 if present trends continue, Davis said.