According to Ed Kilgore at Political Animal, there’s a conservative number cruncher who doesn’t see Obama’s move on immigration as being all that much of a game changer, given that Hispanic voters are only truly significant in two tossup states, Nevada and Arizona:
Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics (a conservative numbers-cruncher whom I greatly respect) says he doesn’t quite get Obama’s DREAM Lite gambit last week. After all, only three swing states have “significant” (which he defines as over 10%) Hispanic populations, and one of those is Cuban-heavy Florida, so we’re really just talking Nevada and Colorado, who only have 15 lousy EVs, and Obama’s real problem is with white voters who don’t like liberalized immigration policies.
Trende’s depiction of DREAM Lite as at best a wash for Obama may be more than a little off, per the first national poll measuring reaction, from Bloomberg:
Sixty-four percent of likely voters surveyed after Obama’s June 15 announcement said they agreed with the policy, while 30 percent said they disagreed. Independents backed the decision by better than a two-to-one margin.
Only self-identified Republicans bucked the trend, opposing DREAM Lite by a 36-56 margin.
Kilgore makes some good points in response, but there’s one that I think he missed. Besides motivating Hispanics to vote for him, Obama has potentially undermined Romney’s always shaky support in the Republican base. Romney is behaving exactly like one would have suspected, and I’m sure he was expected, to act. He is ducking, bobbing and weaving, refusing to say he would repeal Obama’s edict, and refusing to say he would not. His dodge is totally unconvincing, particularly to a base that has grown increasingly to expect absolute fealty from its candidates. It’s not just this issue; it reinforces the quite accurate perception that, once elected, Romney will proceed to ignore everything he’s said in the past that proves at all inconvenient to his re-election prospects, and that means he’ll be moving away from the crazies. They feel it in their bones, and this just confirms their suspicions. The more they feel that way, the more of them will decide not to vote, or to vote for a third party. It’s a more subtle, and totally morally defensible form of the voter suppression in which Republicans engage by the use of brute force. It also, secondarily, reinforces Romney’s image among the rest of us as a man who will say – or refuse to say – anything to get elected.