Republican Pollster: Economy, Jobs, Education Top Issues for Hispanics

Photograph by Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

Mariachi musicians sing and play as they go from house to house to encourage people to come to vote on election day at the Sun Valley's Latino district, Los Angeles County, on Nov 6, 2012 in California.

Republicans know they need to improve their showing with Hispanic voters. A stronger Republican performance with Hispanics “begins with challenging some long held assumptions,” Nicole McClesky, a pollster with the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies, writes in a blog post on her firm’s website.

McCleskey surveyed 500 voters in New Mexico after the election, of whom 37 percent were Hispanic. Among her findings: By a 45-percent to 32-percent margin, more Hispanics say they are “moderate” rather than “conservative.”

While some Republicans have said an anti-abortion stance will win votes from Catholic Hispanics, those voters are far more Democratic-leaning than Protestant Hispanics, according to McCleskey’s findings.

“The top issues for Hispanic voters revolve around opportunities for their families through the economy, job creation, and education,” she writes.

New Mexico backed President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by 52 percent to 42 percent, as the nation voted to re-elect Obama by 51 percent to 47 percent.

Obama won 71 percent of all Hispanic voters on Nov. 6, according to a national exit poll. His strength among that fast-growing voting bloc helped carry him to victory nationwide and in key states like Florida and Colorado.

Read the full memo here.

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