Are Hispanics really a monolithically liberal voting bloc? The left would have you think so, but the reality is more nuanced.
A new focus group survey of Hispanic swing voters, shows that while a large majority of Hispanics do lean toward voting liberal, they also share many core conservative beliefs. The lesson for conservatives is that their principles have broad appeal, but they need to a better job explaining how conservative policies positively impact Hispanics.
The good news for conservatives is that the Hispanic swing voters share many of the same beliefs and concerns as conservative voters. By far the biggest concern of those surveyed was jobs and the economy. (The Pew Hispanic Center shows the same for Hispanics nationwide.) Many were concerned with the federal deficit and do not want their children saddled with oppressive levels of debt.
Most of the Hispanic swing voters were “pro-business” and “pro-jobs” and shared conservative beliefs in “low taxes, small government, and a strong military.” Particularly encouraging for conservatives, Hispanic swing voters strongly support school choice and education policies that increase oversight and parental involvement.
Of course, sharing many conservative beliefs and concerns is not the same as supporting conservative policies or politicians. Most respondents did not see conservatives as representing the best interests of the Hispanic community: “Overall, the Republican brand is perceived unfavorably and described as a party ‘for the rich,’ ‘out of touch with “our” community’ and ‘not sharing “our” values.’”
This should serve as a wake-up call for conservatives. Many members of voting blocs assumed to be monolithically liberal do, in fact, share conservative beliefs and concerns. But if conservatives want to broaden the appeal of their principles, they must explain how limited government and free-market policies with improve the quality of life for all Americans.
Heritage’s Saving the American Dream, for example, explains in detail how conservative reforms help all segments of the American population, from low-income workers to retirees. Similarly, Heritage Libertad, a Spanish-language division of Heritage, publishes Spanish-language publications and news resources in order to spread conservative principles to a broader segment of the Hispanic community.
Conservatives have a lot of work to do, but there are plenty of encouraging signs. New Mexico and Nevada, for example, both elected conservative, Hispanic Republican governors.
New Mexico’s Susana Martinez is a particularly inspiring example: Martinez has gained the support of many independents, liberals, and Hispanics in her largely liberal state through her keen ability to explain how conservative policies would help all Americans, including Hispanics, to achieve the American Dream.