The Republican Challenge

The goal of the Republican National Convention is to project an image of its presidential candidate such that he, and his message, will be more appealing to a wider range of voters. In the case of Latinos, this will be a huge challenge. The campaign will need to work very hard to be convincing.

The Romney campaign hopes to win 38% of the Hispanic vote, quite a variance from the 26% it would currently get if the election were today, according to public opinion poll conducted by impreMedia/Latino Decision.

The gap will not be easy to make up.

As an example, immigration is one of the two top priorities of Latino voters. In this regard, the well-known anti-immigrant policies, as represented in the Republican Party platform, are a major reason why more than half of Republican Latinos – according to the poll – believe that their party doesn’t really care Hispanics.

This is a loss not only for the Republicans but also for our community, which clearly loses when it is ignored.

At the same time, the poll shows an unfavorable image of the Republican presidential candidate among more than half of the Hispanic voters. The perception that Romney is a candidate who is distant from the concerns of the middle-class voter seems to be widely held among Latinos.

Faced with this reality, it is Senator Marco Rubio who has the star role of introducing Romney on the last night of the convention. The Hispanic legislator is the party’s hope for attracting the youth and Latino vote. Well, as the saying goes, one swallow doesn’t make a summer and it is unlikely that Rubio’s charisma can turn the distrust that most Latinos feel about the Republican Party into good feelings. At the same time, it remains to be seen whether various videos about Romney’s life, and his nomination speech, can turn the bad perceptions around.

The low popularity numbers among Latinos that follow Romney to the convention didn’t happen overnight, they happened over the course of the long campaign season which began over a year ago. It will take a herculean effort to achieve the hoped for 38% of Latino voters, which according to Republican calculations, would give their candidate a victory.

Impremedia/La Opinion