The GOP Presidential candidates as walking a very tight rope on the immigration issue as they fight to secure the Republican nomination. While being tough on immigration might help a candidate win votes in a GOP Primary, it might derails the same candidate during the general election…
As one of the first states to vote for the Republican Presidential nominee, national eyes have focused on Nevada, where Latinos make up 14% of the electorate. The Las Vegas Sun writes how immigration will play in the primary and in the general election. This tightrope walk on immigration isn’t exclusive to Nevada, as many swing states have large Hispanic populations (i.e: Florida, New Mexico, Colorado…).
…But immigration likely won’t be the deciding issue in the primary. And if Perry pulls through, his record could draw Hispanic voters from Democrats, particularly as President Barack Obama’s approval rating with Hispanics has dropped.
Likewise, as Romney latches on to immigration as a wedge to drive conservative voters away from Perry he could have the reverse problem should he make it to the general by espousing harsher immigration policies that might antagonize Hispanic voters needed for a Nevada win.
Romney’s camp denies his positions on immigration — which include building the border fence, pushing English-immersion education, supporting Arizona’s immigration law and opposing in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants — would alienate Hispanic voters.
“Gov. Romney has consistently supported legal immigration and opposed illegal immigration,” his spokesman Ryan Williams said. “Gov. Perry has supported liberal policies that encourage illegal immigration.”
Democrats are already working to shift the narrative away from Perry as a champion of pragmatic immigration policies…