Dec. 12, 2012— -- Republicans have a Latino problem and it's one that at least some conservative strategists are beginning to tackle.
The Republican "brand needs substantial resuscitation" among Latino voters, former Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minnesota) said during a news conference to discuss a survey that polled Hispanic views in four critical states.
Conservative polling group Resurgent Republic and the right-leaning Latino advocacy organization Hispanic Leadership Network partnered to survey Hispanic voters in Florida, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico who cast ballots in the 2012 presidential election.
The results indicate that Latino voters don't think Republicans respect the Hispanic community, and that the perception that Latinos naturally align with the Republican Party is misguided.
"We need to recognize that Hispanics have been voting for Democrats for years," said conservative political consultant Whit Ayres, who analyzed the survey results.
He pointed out that, discounting the 1992 and 1996 elections that were three-way races including Ross Perot, 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney performed worse among Hispanic voters than any Republican candidate since 1976, following the Watergate scandal.
The Hispanics surveyed side with Democrats on issues across the board, from abortion to the economy. In all four states, more think the government should do more rather than less. More also support gay marriage or civil unions than not, and more are pro-choice than pro-life in all but New Mexico.
Democrats won even in terms of which party Latinos think is better equipped to help small businesses grow.
"Now come on," Ayres said. "We are the party of small businesses right? But we haven't quite made that sale in the Hispanic community."