A recent poll (pdf) asked Latinos how they would respond if Republican senators opposed and blocked the immigration bill:
Yesterday Lindsay Graham claimed that, if the GOP doesn’t “pass immigration reform, if we don’t get it off the table in a reasonable, practical way, it doesn’t matter who you run in 2016”:
We’re in a demographic death spiral as a party, and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community, in my view, is pass comprehensive immigration reform. If you don’t do that, it really doesn’t matter who will run, in my view.
It’s not just demographics. Dan Hopkins reviews “panel data, data which surveys the same individuals at multiple points in time”:
As it turns out, Latino McCain supporters were more likely to leave the GOP camp than any other demographic group analyzed here.
McCain supporters who were not Latino stuck with Romney 84 percent of the time, while the senator’s Latino backers only stayed with Romney 70 percent of the time. … [W]hat the panel does show is that changes in Latino voting are the product of changing minds as well as changing demographics. To some extent, to say that Latinos voters are lost to the GOP is to ignore recent electoral history.
Meanwhile, Ezra argues that, even if immigration reform is taken off the table, there is one big reason many Latinos will stick with Democrats:
Obamacare is really popular in the Hispanic community. Polling often shows support in the 2-to-1, and even 3-to-1, range. It could just be that Hispanics like President Obama and so they like his law. But it could be that 30 percent of nonelderly Hispanics are uninsured, as opposed to 11 percent of whites and 21 percent of African Americans. Hispanics stand to gain a lot from health reform, and so it’s important to them.
He notes that Republicans are currently “making a point of demanding that legalized immigrants can’t get Obamacare” and are “considering a crushingly punitive version of the individual mandate, in which undocumented immigrants need to purchase private health care on their own, without subsidies, or they can’t even become legal residents”:
The Hispanic community might find this year that Republicans aren’t as opposed to immigration reform as they thought. But they’re also going to find that Republicans are much more opposed to helping the large group of uninsured Hispanics than they ever imagined.