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News Saturday, Apr 11 2015

MEMO: Polling Proves Marco Rubio Has the Wrong Priorities for Latinos

Apr 11, 2015

TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Brad Woodhouse, President, American Bridge 21st Century
RE: Polling Proves Marco Rubio Has the Wrong Priorities for Latinos
DATE: April 11, 2015

Marco Rubio jumps into the presidential race facing a skeptical conservative base. As a darling of the Tea Party, Rubio’s quick rise through the U.S. Senate seemed pre-ordained. But he has faced right wing, conservative, criticism from the GOP base for changing his positions when it’s politically convenient, as he did on immigration.

Rubio’s core electability message to right wing Republicans is his supposed strength with Latinos in the general election. We agree with Rubio that Latinos are a key demographic he will need to win over if he has any chance of becoming president. However, we disagree – and the polling backs this up – that Latinos are ready to side with Rubio.

Polls show that Rubio has serious problems with the Latino community. Will his turnaround on immigration save him with the far right base or disgust Latinos so much that his flip flop doesn’t matter? Does opposing the Affordable Care Act, despite that it provides millions of Latinos and Floridians with health care, derail his chances? There are serious doubts that Rubio will be able to navigate the choppy waters of what’s bound to be the most conservative primary we’ve seen without eroding his paltry Latino support even further.

The first debunked myth is that Rubio outperforms all other GOP candidates among Latinos. Rubio is actually behind his estranged political mentor, Jeb Bush, by three points. He’s tied at 31-31 with Ted Cruz.


Second, Rubio has become more unfavorable to Latinos from July 2013 to November 2014.


Time will tell, but it’s clear that Rubio has serious problems – with both conservatives and the Latino community – that he will have trouble overcoming.


Immigration might be the issue that has frustrated Latinos the most. Rubio was for comprehensive immigration reform until he realized the conservative base was against it. Now he’s against it, too. A whopping 81 percent of Latinos think comprehensive immigration reform is something that Congress should pass by next year. It’s a big factor in 59 percent of Latinos saying they’re unlikely to support Rubio for president in 2016.

Do you think passing immigration legislation that would create a pathway to U.S. citizenship for foreigners who are currently staying illegally in the United States should be:

An Absolute priority for the Obama administration and this year’s Congress


Something that can be delayed until next year



Thinking about the 2016 presidential election, how likely are you to consider voting for Republican Marco Rubio for President? Are you very likely, somewhat likely, not that likely, or not at all likely to consider voting for Rubio in 2016?

Very likely


Somewhat likely


Not that likely


Not at all likely


Don’t know


Totally likely


Totally unlikely


Take President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration. Rubio opposes it. But 78 percent of Latinos support President Obama’s immigration actions according to a poll last week.

As you may know, in November President Obama signed an executive action on immigration because of his concerns that Congress had not passed legislation on this issue. The president’s executive action granted temporary legal status and removed the threat of deportation for an estimated four million foreigners staying illegally in the United States who have been in the country more than five years, have no criminal record, and are parents. Do you approve or disapprove of the president’s executive action?







The Miami Herald editorial board wrote a scathing editorial on Rubio’s blatantly self-interested immigration flip, writing, “The senator’s choice on this key vote adds to the impression that, halfway through his six-year term, his desire to be a problem solver is taking a back seat to his presidential aspirations. That might explain the senator’s turnabout on immigration… Mr. Rubio backed away from his own plan in favor of a less-promising piecemeal approach that doesn’t include a path to citizenship. His spokesmen say this is only a bow to reality, but it left reform advocates crestfallen.”

The Tampa Bay Times opined, “He is more intent on shoring up his political future than in securing immigration reform. Of course, Rubio has been running back to the far right since immigration passed.”

Upwards of four in five Latinos oppose Rubio’s immigration policies. His backtrack on immigration is the biggest signal to Latinos that he sold out the trust and hope they placed in him to gain favor with far right conservatives.


When Rubio voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he said it was “the first of what I hope will be many opportunities to repeal Obamacare.” But only 25 percent of Latinos agree with Rubio, while 61 percent think the ACA should remain law.

Do you think the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare, should be left to stand as law, or do you think it should be repealed?


Left to stand as law


It should be repealed


None of these


Something else


Don’t know


Don’t tell Rubio that Florida has the highest number of people buying health insurance under the ACA. 1.6 million Floridians now have health insurance despite Rubio’s insistence that the ACA has “severe flaws.”

Florida coming in first in enrollment is a clear sign that Rubio’s constituents actually like the program, are benefitting from the ACA, and would be the hardest hit if Rubio has his way and repeals the ACA.

Latinos nationally have also benefitted enormously from the ACA:

  • 2.6 million more Latinos now have health insurance

  • The uninsured rate has dropped 8 percent for Latinos

  • 8.8 million Latinos have access to free preventative care

But that hasn’t stopped Rubio from being one of the loudest in the failed fight to repeal the ACA. He led the charge to repeal the “risk corridors” that were designed to make sure insurance premiums wouldn’t spike if the estimates for who would sign up for health insurance were different than expected. What Rubio left out was that the program would actually save taxpayers $8 billion, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.


86 percent of Latinos agree that we are harming the planet for future generations, but Marco Rubio isn’t one of them. He said, “I don’t think there’s the scientific evidence to justify it.”

Would you say it is extremely important, very important, somewhat important, not that important, or not at all important for our government to address: Global Warming and Climate Change?

Extremely important


Very important


Somewhat important


Not that important


Not at all important



Beyond the role of climate denier, Rubio won’t even discuss climate as an issue. According to the New York Times, Rubio “declined repeated requests” to discuss a recent report on global warming that said Miami is one of the most vulnerable cities to the damaging effects of rising sea levels.

That’s a problem. 90 percent of Latinos say it’s important for the government to address climate change. Rubio won’t even address the issue of climate change, regardless of taking any action to limit the effects.

Published: Apr 11, 2015

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