Can Democrats retain Latinos with a greater emphasis on abortion? Not at all likely.

By Dave Andrusko

For all their attempts at minimizing, pro-abortion Democrats are fully aware that pro-life Republicans are making inroads—serious inroads—into the Latino vote. 

Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd noted that although their polls show a large advantage for the Democrats, he also observed that the margin continues to drop. 

Overall, Democrats enjoy a 21-point lead on congressional preference, with 54% of Latino voters preferring Democrats in control of Congress, versus 33% who want Republicans in charge, according to the survey.

That’s down from Democrats’ 42-point advantage in our Oct. 2012 NBC/WSJ/Telemundo oversample of Latino voters. 

(However, he didn’t mention that it had dropped by half! That was online.)

This is especially true in rural areas. This is why, for example, Todd said, “Republicans think they can make inroads in South Texas.”

The Los Angeles Times ran an interesting piece yesterday headlined “Democrats are trying out a new pitch with Latino voters, one centered on abortion rights.” 

The “new pitch,” Melanie MasonNoah Bierman tell us, is built around a change in assumptions about Latinos:

Just as the reversal of Roe vs. Wade has scrambled Democrats’ overall midterm playbook, it has also prompted the party to rethink its long-standing approach with Latino voters. The party is putting the abortion issue at the center, discarding decades of conventional wisdom that it would be a political loser with a group of voters that is overwhelmingly Catholic and seen as socially conservative….

Although there is this cautionary observation:

The shift comes amid Democratic anxiety and Republican optimism over a small but significant rightward shift among Latino voters as a whole. November will test the two parties’ competing theories — whether abortion will give Democrats a reprieve or the GOP will build on its gains by emphasizing inflation and crime.

The other cautionary flag is not to over-promote abortion.  Mason and Bierman observe

While polling shows support for abortion rights, it is less clear whether the issue will outweigh Republican advantages on the economy and crime.

Sometimes the mixed signals can come from the same survey. An NBC News poll of Hispanic voters found that just 4% ranked it as a top issue this election, far behind matters such as the cost of living. But nearly a quarter of respondents said that a candidate’s stance on abortion could single-handedly determine their support. 

They write about one candidate, Gabe Vasquez, who talks a lot about abortion with certain groups—“a roomful of Democratic faithful”—for example.  Vasquez is the Democratic candidate in New Mexico’s 2nd District. But…

Canvassing for votes in a heavily Latino neighborhood in Deming earlier that day, however, Vasquez, 38, spoke about the economy instead of abortion. Conversing largely in Spanish, he spoke about how his family came from Zacatecas, Mexico, and built their lives in New Mexico. His congressional campaign, he said, was about ensuring opportunity for the next generation. 

The approach aligns with recommendations from Equis, a political research firm specializing in Latinos that said in a recent memo that Democrats “run the risk of seeming out of touch” if they emphasize abortion ahead of economic concerns.

Republicans sense that they have just begun to win over Latino voters. “More Latino GOP candidates filed to run this cycle than ever before, according to the national party’s accounting,”  Mason and Bierman write. “The RNC [Republican National Committee] has spent millions opening more than 30 community centers in Texas, Florida, Wisconsin and other key states and congressional districts. 

A very useful article.  Mason and Bierman may hint that Democrats’ have found the answer—abortion—to staving off further Republicans inroads into the Latino community.  But they are simply wrong, as we will see in 21 days,