A political advocacy group said Friday that the Republican Party presidential nominee in 2016 will need the votes of 47 percent of Latinos nationally to win a majority of the popular vote.
Applying that same scenario to key battleground states, including Virginia, Latino Decisions finds that the most likely “Latino voter threshold” needed by the GOP is as follows: 44% in Colorado; 47% in Florida; 42% in New Mexico; 45% in Nevada; 43% in Ohio, and 46% in Virginia.
Even if the GOP wins a historically high level of the white vote – 60%, a level not reached by Republicans in a presidential election since the 1980s – the Republican nominee will have to win 42% of the Latino vote to win the popular vote.
The scenarios and results, which are described fully in this Latino Decisions blog post and detailed slide presentation, are modeled on a combination of historical, census and exit polling data about the likely size, composition, and party preference of the 2016 electorate. (Check out this calculator tool to enter your own estimates about the composition of the 2016 electorate, here.)
According to David Damore, lead author of the blog post and turnout scenarios, “Our forecasts demonstrate how the country’s changing political demography and the Republican Party’s handling of immigration imperils the GOP’s electoral prospects in 2016 and beyond.”
Added Matt Barreto, Co-Founder of Latino Decisions and Professor of Political Science & Chicano Studies at UCLA, “As the Latino vote has grown, the old saying that the GOP needs 40% of the Latino vote has become outdated. The math is very straightforward on this. The mythical 40% threshold was developed back in 2004 when there were just 7 million Latino voters. In 2016 we are expecting 13 million Latino voters, and given how closely divided the combined non-Latino electorate is, 40% is just not going to get it done for the GOP.”
Said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “The road to the White House in 2016 passes through the Latino community, and this updated threshold should set off alarm bells in the Republican Party. If the GOP continues on the course they’ve been on, with their damaged brand, their lurch to the right on immigration and their slow response to Trump’s racist remarks about Mexican immigrants, they will have a very steep mountain to climb to re-take the White House. For a party whose current message to Latino voters amounts to ‘we don’t like your kind here’ nothing less than a dramatic change in tone, substance and legislative direction will be needed to make the GOP competitive.”