Cruz firmly believes the economy and jobs -- and not immigration policy -- is the number one issue for Hispanic voters.
There's something to that. A national Pew Hispanic Center survey
conducted from Aug. to Sept. of 2010 showed Hispanic voters ranked education and jobs ahead of immigration in terms in the important issues in last year's congressional races.
Recently, the Obama administration has stepped up its challenges
to tough state immigration laws, seen as a development that could galvanize Hispanic voters in 2012, as immigration remains an important issue for Hispanic voters, even if the other concerns the list. Movement on immigration policy is important, especially as many are of the opinion that not much political capital has been spent on the issue the last two year. But if the economy continues to stagnate, it may not be enough.
For Democrats, it's largely a question of message. They'll have to find a way to convince Hispanic voters they are working to advance their interests, both economically and socially. Finding the right balance of focusing on the social policy (immigration and border security) and the economic policy (jobs) is the challenge.
To many Republicans, it's a question of the messenger. Can the party find candidates who will talk about the issues in a way that avoids the pitfalls that Cruz pointed out? Therein lies their challenge.