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Did aggressive pandering to Latino immigrants hurt Ron Paul in Nevada?


Nevada was by far Ron Paul’s worst performance in 2012 so far, in terms of how much he improved over his 2008 score. In Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida, Ron Paul scored between over double and over triple his 2008 percentages. However, while Paul spent the most money in Nevada, he only increased his vote by 29% over his 2008 total. Part of this is because he did much better in Nevada in 2008 than the other states. However, his Nevada percentage is lower than what he got in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Paul went from 4% to 13% in South Carolina and spent little time or money in the state. Ron Paul went from 3% to 7% in Florida, without even running any commercials or campaigning in that state. He has spent his biggest share of his campaign budget in Nevada, but only went from 14% to 18%. Paul had been widely expected to beat Gingrich with a strong second place in Nevada. So what went wrong?

A while back Fox News: Latino profiled the strategy by the Ron Paul campaign to win Nevada. They said his campaign leaders were focusing on recruiting Latinos to go to the caucuses and vote for him.

Last week Ron Paul spoke to a Latino group in Las Vegas, and compared Latino immigrants to Jews in Nazi Germany. His speech was probably the most aggressive pandering to a minority group of any Republican candidate in the race so far. Paul also made the thinly veiled calls for amnesty usually associated with the neo-con branch of the Republican Party.

So did Latinos arrive at the caucuses in droves? Did the pandering pay off? Does it ever? According to CNN, only 5% of Caucus goers identified themselves as Latino, even though the state is 25% Latino. 90% of caucus goers identified themselves as white. The polls don’t show who Latinos voted for, but Romney got 52% of the Catholic vote. We can assume that the biggest chunk of Latino votes probably went to Romney.