RNC chairman: Economic message, ground game key to winning back Latinos
Republicans begin the general election phase of the campaign in a deep hole against President Obama when it comes to Latino voters, but that damage is reversible, according to the party’s chairman, Reince Priebus.
Priebus appeared on Univision’s Al Punto this weekend to promote his party’s message to Latino voters, which includes blistering attacks on Obama’s record on job creation and the budget deficit.
“I think that our messaging, whatever your background, Hispanic or otherwise, but in regard to Hispanics and your question, the economy is a big issue, and the economy is an issue that I think no matter what your background, it is something that rings true to Hispanics, and that this president promised more jobs, less unemployment, a better record on spending and debt,” he said.
Republicans face an uphill climb to win back Latino voters, who have again flocked to Obama in 2012 like they did in 2008. The president leads the likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney 67-25 percent among Latino voters, according to a January Univision/ABC News/Latino Decisions poll.
Romney comes out of the Republican primary bruised and battered after he took a hard-line stance on immigration. For example, 54 percent of Latino voters say that they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who pledged to veto the DREAM Act, like Romney did, according to the Univision poll. Democrats have used that effectively to paint Romney as antithetical to the priorities of Latino voters.
But Republicans believe they have an opening. Latino unemployment remains above 10 percent three years into Obama’s presidency and 61 percent of Latino voters rank the economy and jobs as their top issue, according to the Univision poll.
Priebus said that the party would use its fresh Latino faces; such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, to promote its message to Latino voters. That effort would be coupled with a greater focus on grassroots outreach, with the RNC putting in place Hispanic directors in swing states like Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, and Virginia.
“Our messengers are better, but our strategy has to be on the ground, Jorge,” Priebus said.
Catch Priebus’ entire interview this Sunday on Al Punto, 10 AM Eastern, 9 AM Central and Pacific. The interview will also be posted in its entirety in English Sunday on Al Punto’s website.