GOP Appeals to Latino Voters on 'Shared Values'

July 7, 2008 - 8:25 PM

( - The Republican National Committee has launched an advertising campaign in Fresno, California directed at Latino voters that seeks to point out common values between the two and sway undecided Hispanic voters towards the GOP. Latino voters, GOP officials contend, are the "soccer moms" of 2000.

The radio and television ads will run in English and Spanish and feature a young Hispanic female, Christina Bustos, who reveals that the Republican themes about "education, opportunity and family" are striking a chord with her own beliefs.

"Papa, I've heard what you have to say, so this year I plan to keep an open mind and vote for the best person - and that includes Republicans. Because now, it's our time to dream," Bustos says in the ad.

The GOP is hoping to connect with the Hispanic community by outlining shared values such as "a commitment to family, a strong work ethic, a love of country and of freedom, a belief in opportunity and a willingness to accept personal responsibility."

The ads come on the heels of a "New America" survey, what RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson calls "the most comprehensive political and cultural survey of Latino voters ever conducted by a political party in America."

The survey, conducted in early December and unveiled in January at the RNC's winter meeting in San Jose, California, indicates that 25 percent of Latinos consider themselves independent and are willing to be persuaded to join the Republican Party. That's in addition to the 30 percent of Latinos who have already identified themselves as Republicans.

The ad campaign clearly intends to build on the success which Spanish-speaking Texas Republican Governor George W. Bush has had with his own Latino constituents during his two successive gubernatorial bids.

The survey of Latino voters was conducted by GOP pollster Lance Tarrance and is purportedly the most comprehensive political and cultural survey of Hispanic political attitudes ever taken. According to the January survey, at least one third of Latino voters said they would vote for Republicans.

The study also indicates that 60 percent of the new "independent and undecided" Hispanic constituency was born in the United States. Such a figure, Tarrance suggests, indicates that a major segment of Hispanics are second and third generation, not "new" arrivals as commonly depicted.

The survey of 1,000 self-identified Latinos consisted of 60 percent Mexican, Mexican American or Chicano, 20 percent Central and South American, 15 percent Puerto Rican and five percent Cuban.

As for shared values between the Republican Party and Latino voters, the survey revealed that 40 percent identify as Democrat, five percent moderate and 50 percent consider themselves conservative. Overall, Latino voters are more conservative than liberal by seven percentage points, according to the study.

Hispanics who have come to the United States more recently also tend to be more conservative than those already here, the study indicates.

When asked about the federal government's role in providing jobs and housing for their family, 73 percent of Latinos felt that individuals should be responsible for themselves. That's compared to 21 percent who believed it is the government's responsibility. Another 78 percent agree that Latinos who work hard for a living and follow all the rules will get ahead compared to 19 percent that disagreed.