Republicans launch outreach campaign to woo Hispanic voters

The Takeaway

In the Republican Party’s effort to unseat Barack Obama, they’re trying to mend fences and increase outreach with Hispanic voters.

George W. Bush made significant gains in attracting Hispanic voters, traditionally a strongly Democratic voting bloc, during his time in office, but they quickly moved back to Obama in 2008. Despite the unpopularity of his administration’s deportation strategy, Latino voters continue to support Obama more than his Republican rivals.

So the Republican Party has launched a formal outreach effort, including hiring Bettina Inclan as the Republican National Committee’s first director of Hispanic outreach.

“Latinos are going to play a huge role in this upcoming election,” she said. “Groups says (their participation) will increase about 26 percent. The  Republican Party understands the importance of engaging these voters. We rolled out a new, expanded effort targeting Latinos throughout the nation, but also in some key states.”

In those “key” states, like Florida, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona, Latino voters could be the swing vote that determine whether Obama or his eventual Republican challenger wins the election.

“We’re also doing some enhanced digital efforts,” Inclan said.

She pointed to a new Twitter account, @RNCLatinos, and a Tumblr account, as ways to provide bilingual information to the Latino community.

Inclan said there are many ideas from the candidates on issues important to Latinos, and how that plays out will in large part determine whether or how those views may shape the outreach effort.

“The Republican Party can always do better,” Inclan said. “We want to make sure that our message is getting out, we’re connecting with voters, but there’s incredible opportunity. Obama’s lost support within the Hispanic community — he’s dropped 30 points from his high in April 2009.”

Inclan said in swing states, like Florida, Obama’s support is actually “underwater.”

“The economy is really hitting Latinos harder than anyone else,” Inclan said. “They’re looking for an alternative and we’re positive that it’s going to be the Republicans they’re going to vote for in November.”

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