Ever since Mitt Romney walked away from the 2012 election a loser with 27 percent of the Latino vote, the Republican Party has been on a quest to find a way it can appeal to Hispanic voters without alienating its conservative base.
A Pew Research Center poll reveals that 2016 presidential contenders may have more room to reach out to Latino voters than they may have first thought, but the ground will still be shifting.
The poll shows 72 percent of American voters support a path to legalization for immigrants who are living in the country illegally. That is a position that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sens. Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham have taken criticism from the conservative wing of the party for supporting. Even more promising for those candidates, 56 percent of Republicans support giving undocumented immigrants a chance to stay in the country. Among conservative voters, that number remains at 53 percent. The numbers show that even in primaries, Rubio, Graham and Bush's positions may not be losing ones.
Pew surveyed 2,002 adults nationally from May 12-18 for the poll, which has a 2.5 percent margin of error.
In recent months, 2016 candidates and others seriously considering the race have stumbled over how to answer straightforward questions about where they stand on a path to citizenship or legalization for the country's 11 million undocumented immigrants.