LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 6: A woman enters a polling place in the heavily Latino East L.A. area during the U.S. presidential election on November 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The election will decide whether Democrat Barack Obama serves a second term as president of the United States or is replaced by Republican rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)2012 Getty Images
Do a lot more and do it faster.
That's the strategy that one Republican pollster working with potential presidential candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said the GOP needs to do if it wants to win the crucial Latino vote in 2016.
"A Republican nominee is going to need to be somewhere in the mid-40s, or better, among Hispanic voters," pollster Whit Ayres said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, adding that Rubio is "extraordinarily talented" and could be "transformational" in expanding the GOP's appeal with Latinos.
While Rubio hasn't officially said that he will be running for president in 2016 – the only person to do that so far is Texas freshman Sen. Ted Cruz – Rubio has set a date for April 13 when he is suspected to declare his candidacy.
"I will announce on April 13 what I'm going to do next in terms of running for president or the U.S. Senate," Rubio told Fox News' Dana Perino during an appearance of ‘The Five.' He was originally supposed to his presidential announcement on the show, but was foiled when the Tampa Bay Times reported a proposed date and venue in Miami when he would announce his bid.
Latinos, which made up 8.4 percent of votes in the 2012 election, are seen as critical to Republican success come next November and many political insiders say that Rubio is the party's best choice to appeal to Hispanics while still maintaining its base support. In the last presidential elections, the Republicans suffered hard losses with the Latino community, as Mitt Romney was only able to garner 27 percent – a drop from the 31 percent John McCain was able to win in 2008 and a far cry from the support former President George W. Bush enjoyed with the group.
Ayers said that with black and Asian voters trending sharply away from Republican candidates, Latinos are the best hope of securing 30 percent of the non-white vote that he predicts as the key to GOP electoral success.
With Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton reporting favorable numbers among white voters as well as Latinos and President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act being viewed favorably by many Hispanics, the GOP knows that it has an uphill battle, but some like Ayers believe that Rubio – a son of Cuban immigrants from the Hispanic-strong hold of south Florida – is the party's best hope for the presidency.
"I loved watching Michael Jordan play basketball, because he could do things with the basketball that were not teachable," Ayres told the National Journal. "Marco Rubio is the Michael Jordan of American politics. And anyone underestimates his ability at their peril."
Like Rubio, Cruz is also Cuban-American – though his hardline views on immigration has not endeared him to the Hispanic community. Jeb Bush, another possible Republican presidential contender, has Latino appeal, and some believe his moderate views on immigration could siphon Hispanic voters from the Democratic Party.
"Republicans are one candidate and one election away from resurrection," Ayres said. "The Republican nominee in 2012 will redefine the Republican Party in his or her image."