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It's Not Just The Southwest

Nate Silver has some fun with maps charting out possible winning GOP combinations in the event that the party receives declining support from Latino voters and (possibly) aims to construct an anti-immigration, anti-NAFTA "gringo" coalition. One point to keep in mind:

In 2008, the Latino vote made the difference in the outcome of three states: New Mexico, where about 2 in 5 voters identify as Hispanic, as well as -- somewhat surprisingly -- Indiana and North Carolina -- where Obama lost nonhispanic voters by a tiny margin and was put over the top by Hispanic votes. It probably also made the difference, believe it or not, in the 2nd Congressional District of Nebraska -- Omaha actually has a decent-sized Hispanic minority -- although the exit polls aren't detailed enough to let us know for sure.

That the Hispanic vote helped Obama to win electoral votes in such "gringo" territories as Nebraska and Indiana is a reminder that there are Hispanics everywhere now; the presence of a surprisingly large and extremely Democratic-leaning Hispanic vote in New Jersey, for example, is one reason why Republicans are no longer competitive there. Moreover, the growth rate of the Hispanic population tends to be fastest in such nontraditional areas as the South and even the Prairie states. 

Nearly all the winning maps for the GOP involve it performing better in the Rust Belt where, naturally, it's been busy opposing the auto bailout(s), driving a senior Senator from the party, and promising to keep Minnesota half-represented in the Senate as long as possible. Eventually, in other words, the Republican Party is going to have to choose a region of the country outside the South to stop ticking off.

--Christopher Orr