New academic research from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) confirms previous studies over more than two decades that Republicans cannot win more Hispanic votes by supporting amnesty and other liberal immigration legislation. Moreover, voting for liberal immigration policies hurts them with non-Hispanic conservatives. Hispanics have a strong tradition of Democrat Party loyalty and support because they favor big government and liberal social-welfare and healthcare spending. According to a 2011 Pew poll, 75 percent of Hispanics favor big government with more services versus only 41 percent for the general US. population. Support for big government runs to 81 percent among immigrant Hispanics. Pew research indicated that 69 percent of Hispanics favored Obamacare, and 71 percent voted for Obama.
In October, Pew Research also found that while 34 percent of Latino (Hispanic) registered voters say immigration is extremely important to them, immigration ranks only fifth in their priority of issues. Education, jobs and the economy, and healthcare all ranked much higher with over 50 percent seeing them as extremely important. Even the Federal budget deficit was more important at 36 percent. Only taxes, a Republican issue, ranked lower at 33 percent.
The recent CIS research paper, Pro-Immigration Congressional Republicans Do Not Perform Better Among Latino Voters, by Dr. George Hawley of the University of Houston, was also published in the academic journal, Social Science Quarterly. Hawley used the 2006 Congressional elections to study the relationship of voting records, based on NumbersUSA grading of incumbent House Republicans with the percent of the Latino vote they received in the 2006 General Election. NumbersUSA grades range from F- to A+. The average Republican grade was B. (The average Democrat grade is now D-.) Many other factors were considered in this highly sophisticated statistical analysis, but the most understandable presentation for non-statisticians can be seen in a simple comparison of Republican incumbents’ NumbersUSA immigration grade with their share of the Latino vote. Here are the Table 1 results for five grade ranges:
Grade A=27.2% Latino support; Grade B=26.5% Latino support;
Grade C=27.9% Latino support; Grade D =19.9% Latino support
Grade F, representing only a few Republicans got 25.7% Latino support.
The results were slightly the reverse of what one would expect but not statistically significant. However, the small reverse effect may reflect a consistent conservative Republican support of 20 percent or more among Hispanics. Many in this conservative Hispanic minority have strong negative reactions to amnesty. One bottom line of the study is that a conservative immigration voting record did not hurt Republican incumbents with Hispanics. More importantly, those with liberal voting records were not helped one whit. Although many Hispanics describe themselves as independents, overwhelming loyalty to the Democrat Party is an enduring cultural fact.
The Hispanic vote is primarily determined by this traditional loyalty and strong Hispanic preference for generous big government welfare and healthcare policies. They are also unresponsive to Republican calls for lower taxes.
On the other hand, the study indicates that Republican support for amnesty and other liberal immigration policies hurt them with non-Hispanic whites at a level that is not only statistically significant but potentially disastrous. Simplifying and condensing Table 2 of the report, my own comparison of Republicans with A and B grades with those with C and D grades suggests a substantial penalty for Republicans going liberal on immigration. The drop from A & B to C & D indicates an almost 10 percent drop in the support of non-Hispanic whites or 4.0 percent of the total vote. In a close election that would be equivalent to dropping from 52 percent of the vote to 48 percent of the vote. The statistics in Table 2 of the report seem a bit low to me, but the message is clear and perhaps understated. The penalty for Republican support for amnesty and other liberal immigration policies is significant. Institutional Republican leadership support for amnesty and other liberal immigration policies risks massive Republican defeats and long-term alienation of the Party’s conservative base.
The new CIS report supports three highly probable results of Republican support for amnesty and other liberal immigration programs. (1) Republicans would not gain Hispanic votes. (2) It would result in millions of new voters leaning three to one or better toward the Democrat Party, compounding annually with new illegal immigration encouraged by amnesty. (3) It would significantly diminish conservative support for Republicans, resulting in millions of conservative voters staying at home.
An August 2001 CIS report by Karen Kaufmann and James G. Gimpel reached similar conclusions. This report, entitled Impossible Dream or Distant Reality?
Republican efforts to Attract Latino Voters, should have been sobering news for the Bush administration, which formulated its immigration policies based on anecdotal myths rather than statistical reality. The Bush policy of negligible internal and workplace enforcement earned no Hispanic respect, resulted in a doubling of illegal immigration, hurt American workers and taxpayers, and accelerated the growth of a strongly Democrat voting bloc that threatens eventual Democrat dominance in national elections.
One of the myths is that Hispanic voters are social conservatives receptive to Republican appeals. This is about three generations out of date as a result of the increased secularization of both the Hispanic and American cultures and the massive inflow of largely un-churched new immigrants. According to Pew Research, Hispanics are more conservative on abortion with only 43 percent thinking it should be legal compared to 54 per cent of all Americans. But according to the Guttmacher Institute, they have more of them, 28 percent, versus only 11 percent for whites. According to Manhattan Institute Scholar Heather MacDonald, a majority of Hispanics now accept gay marriage. In addition, the Hispanic out-of-wedlock birth rate is 53 percent, about twice that of whites. Moreover, conservative Hispanic social opinions do not translate into conservative votes.
Republicans cannot out-liberal Democrats. So why are Republicans stampeding to vote for an amnesty worse than the disastrous 1986 amnesty?
It is Republican suicide—stupid Republican suicide.