Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is preparing a push for an immigration-reform proposal that promises to be the first real test of whether Republicans have learned a lesson from the Nov. 6 election results. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans won the white vote by numbers normally seen in landslide victories, and they also won independents by 5 and 7 percentage points, respectively. But Romney lost the election nationally by almost 4 points, and the GOP lost the overall popular vote for the House of Representatives. Although winning big among white voters and carrying the independent vote is necessary for GOP victories nationally, it's no longer sufficient to win.
The white share of the vote in presidential elections has dropped 15 points over the past six elections, from 87 percent in 1992 to 72 percent in 2012. This trend has little to do with Barack Obama, the nation's first African-American president. The declines from one presidential election to the next have been consistent: a 4-point drop from 1992 to 1996, 2 more points in 2000, 4 additional points in 2004, 3 points in 2008, and 2 points last year.
At the same time, the Republican share of the minority vote is getting grisly. Among the 13 percent of voters who are black, Obama won by 87 percentage points, 93 percent to 6 percent, while congressional Democrats won by 78 points, 91 percent to 13 percent. Latinos made up 10 percent of last year's electorate and gave the president a 44-point edge, 71 percent to 27 percent, while congressional Democrats had a 38-point advantage, 68 percent to 30 percent. The Asian-American vote — 3 percent of the electorate and now the fastest-growing ethnic group — sided with Obama by 47 points, 73 percent to 26 percent; congressional Democrats won by a 1-point-wider margin, 73 percent to 25 percent.