The Republican Party will need a candidate who finds favor with at least 40% of Latino voters in 2016 to win the White House, according to pollster Whit Ayres. Ayres is working with Florida senator Marco Rubio, a possible presidential candidate who favors immigration reform.
Although Rubio has not yet declared that he intends to run for president – Senator Ted Cruz is so far the only confirmed candidate – he is expected to clarify his position by the 13th of this month. Latinos, who in the 2012 election constituted 8.4% of the votes, are seen as vital to the success of the Republican Party in 2016, with many insiders believing that Rubio may be their best chance to appeal to this demographic without alienating the party’s traditional supporters.
The Latino community was unimpressed with the party in 2012, resulting in the Republicans being hit with some hard losses. Mitt Romney garnered just 27% of the Latino vote in the last election, a fall from the 31% that voted for John McCain back in 2008 and a significant drop-off from the popularity enjoyed by former president George W Bush, with many unimpressed by his call for undocumented immigrants to self-deport.
Ayers says that Asian and black voters are strongly moving away from the Republican Party, meaning that the party’s best hope for securing the amount of non-white votes it needs to win the White House lies with the Latino community. Ayers believes that the party just needs the right person to regain popularity, and that Rubio fits the bill.