The GOP Nominee in 2016 Will Have to Win a Sizeable Portion of Minority Voters

A longtime GOP pollster says the Republican nominee in 2016 must nearly double the percentage of the non-white vote Mitt Romney won in 2012 in order to win the White House.

Whit Ayers, who is an adviser to likely 2016 candidate Marco Rubio, says the GOP nominee in 2016 will have to win 30% of non-white voters in order to win the election. Mitt Romney got 17% of non-whites in 2012. At the same time, the GOP candidate will have to hang on to the 59% of white voters won by Romney that same year.

Getting to 30% of non-white voters is no small task. Ayers says that means winning nearly a majority of Hispanics. From the Wall Street Journal:

To attain 30% of non-white support, the Republican would have to win “almost a majority” of the Hispanic vote, Mr. Ayres added. In recent cycles, party’s support among Hispanic voters peaked in 2004 at 40% for President George W. Bush.

If the Republican nominee fails to improve on Mr. Romney’s standing among non-whites, he or she would need to win 65% of the white vote—a level reached only once, by Ronald Reagan in his re-election bid in 1984, Mr. Ayres said.

The challenge for Republicans is that the percentage of the electorate made up of white voters has declined consistently in every presidential election since 1996, Mr. Ayres said. That renders insufficient the formula Mr. Bush used to win re-election in 2004 — 58% of the white vote plus 26% of non-whites.