The run-up to Wednesday's Republican presidential debate in Arizona has highlighted immigration issues including the so-called DREAM Act, which proposes paths to citizenship for some undocumented children of immigrants. Three of the top candidates have said they support only part of the proposal — an unpopular stance among the Latino voters the candidates are courting in the border state.
Republican candidates' efforts to win Hispanic voters have intensified in advance of the Florida primary, airing ads in Spanish and contending over immigration. Host Scott Simon speaks with Maria Elena Salinas, co-host of Noticiero Univision, about Hispanic voters' role in the Republican primary and the upcoming presidential election.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. We begin with the latest in the Republican race for president. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney campaigned in Florida yesterday. Mr. Gingrich made appearances before two communities whose votes he hopes to win in Tuesday's primary. He spoke to Latino home builders and businesspeople in the morning, and had a rally with a group of Republican Jewish voters in the afternoon. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.
Mitt Romney hasn't had a lot of good news lately but he did get some positive information Wednesday — a new Univision/ABC News poll gives him a significant lead over Newt Gingrich among Florida Latinos less than a week before the Florida Republican primary.
The survey found that 35 percent of respondents said they would vote for Romney while 21 percent said Gingrich was their choice. Rep. Ron Paul was at six percent and Rick Santorum at seven percent.
The issue of immigration, which barely simmered during the first three Republican presidential contests, could reach a boil now that the candidates have arrived in Florida for the state's Jan. 31 primary.
Florida, with its large and influential Latino population, provides the earliest gauge of the difficulty facing any eventual GOP nominee in courting Hispanic voters, who increasingly view Republicans' rhetoric about immigration as anti-Hispanic.