The American electorate is more diverse than ever – and Republicans will have to attract a record percentage of minorities to win the presidency in 2016, a GOP pollster says.
In an excerpt from his book, "2016 and Beyond: How Republicans Can Elect a President in the New America"
, published in The Wall Street Journal
, Whit Ayres, head of North Star Opinion Research, writes that Republicans need to nominate "a candidate who can speak to minorities, especially Hispanics, and offer a vivid and compelling vision of expanded economic opportunity at home and a stronger America abroad."
According to Ayres, groups that form "the core of GOP support – older whites, blue-collar whites, married people and rural residents – are declining as a proportion of the electorate" as Democrat-leaning groups – minorities, young people and single women – are growing.
"Republicans … must find a way to appeal to more nonwhite voters," he writes, because the "math" of changing demographics "is only going to get worse" for the party.
For example, he writes, President Barack Obama won re-election because "he achieved breathtaking majorities" among blacks, Hispanics and Asians – despite taking only four out of 10 of whites.
"If the GOP nominee in 2016 wins the same share of the white vote that [Mitt] Romney did – 59 percent – then he or she will need 30 percent of nonwhites to be elected," he writes.
"That is far greater than the 17 percent of the nonwhite vote that Mr. Romney won in 2012, or the 19 percent John McCain won in 2008, or the 26 percent George W. Bush won in 2004."
In other words, he writes, if the GOP nominee only manages to hold Romney's 17 percent among nonwhites, then he or she will need 65 percent of whites to win – and only one Republican has reached that mark in the past half century: Ronald Reagan in 1984.
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