Republicans share Newt Gingrich’s approach to immigration, but the GOP still has to work hard to get Latino voters in important swing states in the 2012 presidential elections, according to surveys.

Fox News reports today that their poll shows that “66 percent of the nearly 1,000 people surveyed nationally said there should be a path to citizenship if a person meets requirements such as paying back taxes and learning English. That goes further than Gingrich’s proposal, which just allows people who – in the example he gave – have lived here for 25 or more years to work here legally, but not be on a path to citizenship.”

In mid-November, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said, “I don’t see how the — the party that says it’s the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter-century. And I’m prepared to take the heat for saying, ‘Let’s be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship, but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families.’”

The Fox poll adds that “regardless of political party affiliation, most respondents supported a path to legalization.”

Fox also shows that 26 percent of Republicans “want the deportation of all undocumented immigrants,” but “the percentage that did was dramatically smaller than those favoring giving a break to immigrants who meet certain criteria.”

Latino Decisions writes today: “The greatest cliché in politics today as it relates to Latinos is the notion that Latinos are Republicans; they just don’t know it yet,” adding that “whether or not the GOP wants to commit to representing the fastest-growing segment of the population by appealing to their interests is still an open question, but the research has shown that Latinos will respond if Republicans reach out to them.”

Latino Decisions asked those it surveyed whether a vice-presidential run by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would “have any effect on their likelihood of voting Republican.” Poll results showed that 26 percent of independents and 30 percent of Hispanics between the age of 18 and 35″are more likely to vote Republican” with Rubio on the ticket.

Rubio said in mid-November he will not consider a vice-presidential run, adding that legal and illegal immigration remains a problem that needs to be confronted. He added that the Republican Party “should be the pro-legal immigration party,” saying it’s time for GOP candidates to start talking about “what are we for” and about “how we modernize our legal immigration system.”

The Los Angeles Times asks today:

Does Rubio really hold the Republican Party’s key to millions of Latino voters in swing states? Outside Florida, many Latinos don’t even know who he is yet. And the evidence suggests that, once they do, Rubio will have an uphill climb despite his Hispanic name.

The Times adds that “many of Rubio’s home-state voters, who know him best, appear to view him as a Tea Party conservative who happens to be Latino, rather than the other way around,” and he is a “Cuban American, which makes him a minority among the nation’s Latinos, most of whom are Mexican American. (Only about 4% of U.S. Latinos are of Cuban ancestry.)”

The conservative Hispanic Leadership Network and Resurgent Republic (a conservative survey and focus group organization) conducted 1,200 interviews with Hispanic voters in Florida, Colorado, and New Mexico in September.

The resurgent Republic wrote that to “remain competitive” in 2012, “Republicans do not need to win a majority of Hispanics nationwide, or within these states,” adding that, “despite the clear opportunities for Republicans among Hispanic voters in these three states, Republican positions on immigration reform continue to be at odds with the overwhelming majority of Hispanic voters.”

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