It turns out there are limits to the short-term, intolerant approach to campaign messaging.  From NBC’s First Read:

*** Latinos aren’t swing voters anymore: For example, 68% of Latinos approve of Obama’s job (compared with 48% of overall respondents and 38% of whites), and they view the Democratic Party favorably by a 54%-21% score (versus 41%-40% among all adults and 34%-48% among whites). And their views of the Republican Party? In the poll, the GOP fav/unfav among Latinos is 22%-44%. What’s more, Latinos think Democrats would do a better job than Republicans in protecting the interests of minorities (by 58%-11%), in representing the opportunity to move up the economic ladder (46%-20%), in dealing with immigration (37%-12%), and in promoting strong moral values (33%-23%). The only advantage they gave Republicans was in enforcing security along the border (31%-20%). And Latinos remain a sleeping — yet growing — political giant: 23% of them aren’t registered voters (compared with 12% of whites and 16% of blacks), and

*** Dropping like a rock: It didn’t use to be this way. In 2004, George W. Bush, the former governor of Texas, won some 40% of the Latino vote. But in 2006, that percentage for Republicans dropped to 30%, and it was 31% in ’08. And check out these party identification averages among Latinos that our Hart (D)/McInturff (R) pollsters put together from our past NBC/WSJ polls; this chart puts together the YEARLY average of all Hispanics surveyed for each year (approximately 900 respondents are included in each yearly sample):

— In 2004, Dems held a 22-point edge in party identification among Latinos (49%-27%)
— In 2005, it was 24 points (48%-24%)
— In 2006, it was 26 points (50%-22%)
— In 2007, it was 30 points (52%-22%)
— In 2008, it was 35 points (57%-22%)
— In 2009, it was 31 points (50%-19%)
— And so far in 2010, it has been 36 points (58%-22%).

*** The Pete Wilson lesson: Smart GOP strategists know this is a problem; the consensus is that Republicans need to capture AT LEAST 35-40% of the vote to win national contests. Yet looking at Republican primaries across the country, GOP candidates aren’t looking at the long-term. In Arizona, John McCain is airing a TV ad declaring “complete the danged fence.” In California, Steve Poizner is comparing Meg Whitman to Mexico’s president in a TV ad criticizing her opposition to the Arizona law, while Whitman has a TV ad saying she “absolutely” opposes amnesty. And in Alabama, gubernatorial candidate Tim James says, “This is Alabama, we speak English. If you want to live here, learn it.” Pete Wilson is an important lesson here, says co-pollster Peter Hart (D): In presidential races from 1952 to 1988, Dems won California just once. After Wilson’s Prop. 187, Republicans haven’t come close to winning the nation’s biggest state. The next California could be Texas, and the GOP can’t afford to have that big state become competitive. 

The scary thing (if I’m putting on my GOP consultant hat) is the party ID numbers.  “Dropping like a rock” is putting it lightly.  Given the withering away of most demographics in the modern Republican coalition, these plummeting numbers among Latinos take on even more importance.  With all this focus on short-term news cycles, the Republican brand continues to disintegrate among a changing America.

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