Republicans who have warned for years that their party needs to do a better job reaching out to Hispanic voters are finding a lot to smile about this month: according to the latest Gallup poll, Obama's approval rating among Hispanics is at 50 percent, eight points lower than it was in late October, after the government shutdown. A recent poll of Hispanic voters in Colorado showing a modest decline in opinion on the Affordable Care Act has Republicans hoping they can exploit Healthcare.gov's botched rollout to their advantage with Hispanic millennials. In Texas, conservatives are trying to reach Latino voters with an appeal rooted in the party's anti-abortion stance. Chris Christie's strong showing in his reelection campaign last week is reminding them that Latino voters can be won.
Republicans shouldn't get their hopes up. Christie won 51 percent of Hispanic voters in a campaign where he was already outperforming his Democratic opponent among almost every demographic, even winning 32 percent of Democrats. It wasn't for nothing: Christie spent over a million dollars on TV ads, invested in Spanish-language radio and direct mail, and softened his stance on allowing in-state tuition for children of undocumented immigrants just before the election. Last month, the Republican National Committee announced they, too, would be building outreach teams in 18 states that could help warm voters to a candidate like Christie in 2016.