Participation in a Univision sponsored debate might not be enough to solve the GOP's Hispanic vote problem. Republican immigration rhetoric, which can have an us-against-them tone, has seemed to reverse the inroads George W. Bush made with the fastest-growing segment of the population. In 2004, Bush captured 40 percent of the Hispanic vote.
Currently, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, 57 percent of Hispanic voters call themselves democrats, while just 23 percent identify as republicans. Hispanic voters rank immigration below other issues such as education and health care. Yet, it is the only issue that sharply rose in importance.
Hispanic voters loom as potential swing voters, as they are located strategically on the electoral-college map. If the GOP does not find a way to reconcile the concerns of Hispanics with the more native wing of the party, it may lose votes from Hispanics who are in line with the party on most other issues.