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The Republican Party has been wrestling with this topic for years now. Every time the question of immigration reform comes up, it is tied to the argument that unless the GOP signs on to some reform bill, they will lose more of the Latino vote. Some Republicans even make the argument and now one prominent pollster, who will likely be working on Marco Rubio’s possible presidential campaign, is making the case.

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Report from the National Journal:

Republicans widely acknowledge that in order to take back the White House in 2016, they must make steady gains in winning back Latino voters, only 27 percent of whom supported Mitt Romney in 2012.

But Whit Ayres, a prominent Republican pollster who will work for Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign, says the party has to do much better much faster. Ayres told reporters Tuesday morning that the Republican nominee must capture more than 40 percent of the Latino vote in 2016 to win the presidency—and suggested that his candidate is uniquely positioned to do so.

“A Republican nominee is going to need to be somewhere in the mid-forties, or better, among Hispanic voters,” Ayres said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast. The pollster noted that his candidate is “extraordinarily talented” and could be “transformational” in expanding the GOP’s appeal. [Emphasis added]

That would represent a quantum leap from 2012, when Romney won just 27 percent of Latinos—a major reason for his electoral drubbing at the hands of President Barack Obama. Romney’s abysmal numbers were even a drop-off from John McCain, who took 31 percent of Latinos against Obama in 2008.

It’s pretty convenient that Rubio’s pollster is the one making the argument given that Rubio himself has stated the he, as a presidential candidate, could make inroads and win over more Latino voters. Why not hire the guy to back you up with the “data” to prove it?

The question I have is whether this 40% number, or any particular number, is really accurate. Does not winning enough Latino voters automatically preclude the GOP from victory in 2016? Is it simply a question of demographics or picking the right candidate?

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