Immigration does seem to be an issue in the Republican primaries, (Look at McCain suddenly being all "tough on immigration) but how big a role will it play in the various general elections? We know Republican base voters are "nativist," but how does it play outside the base?
Related: FirstRead had an interesting post on immigration polling during my hiatus, showing that Republicans are rapidly losing Hispanic voters (semi-permanently?) and the gaps are even larger among young Hispanics.
Take a look at this on Latino party identification,
-- In 2004, Dems held a 22-point edge in party identification among Latinos (49%-27%)
-- In 2005, it was 24 points (48%-24%)
-- In 2006, it was 26 points (50%-22%)
-- In 2007, it was 30 points (52%-22%)
-- In 2008, it was 35 points (57%-22%)
-- In 2009, it was 31 points (50%-19%)
-- And so far in 2010, it has been 36 points (58%-22%).
Republicans are looking to win this election on immigration, but what's it going to cost them down the line among the largest growing demographic?
Could they possibly win and hold enough anti-immigration votes to hold out against this over the next decade?