Meg Whitman’s opposition to Arizona immigration law could attract Hispanics in November

With a whopping victory of sixty-four percent over Steve Poizner’s twenty-seven percent, Meg Whitman is prepared to fight her Democratic opponent Jerry Brown in November for the big cheese.  As one of her strategies, Whitman is ready to round up the Hispanic vote, even with the GOP’s anti-immigrant stigma and her strong, anti-illegal immigration stance during the primary. 

If anyone is most equipped to garner even a slice of the California Hispanic vote, however, it would be Whitman.  What Whitman has going for her is her opposition to the Arizona immigration law. 

At the heart of this particular debate between them, Poizner explicitly backed Arizona’s controversial law, even using his funds to produce commercials devoted exclusively to illegal immigration.  Whitman responded with her own ad that, in word, attempted to demonstrate her opposition to illegal immigration without explicitly condemning the Arizona law.  In spite of her tiptoeing on illegal immigration, she still easily defeated Poizner. 

At least two things can attest to Whitman’s victory with Republicans in spite of her softer illegal immigration position.  First, Republicans that actually voted in California have more moderate stances than Republicans in truly conservative parts of the country as whole.  These same voters anointed Carly Fiorina over the poster boy of conservatism, Chuck DeVore.  Second, a very low turnout in the statewide election worked in favor of moderate Republicans. 

Now that the Republican primary is behind her, Whitman has even more freedom to adjust her positions particularly on immigration, attempting to match the policy preferences of her broadened California constituency.  She now has the opportunity to embrace both moderates and even some liberals on the political scale.  That she appeared less conservative than Poizner on an illegal immigration solution also gives her a little bit more wiggle room to win over at least some California Hispanics. 

On the Hispanic front, Whitman knows the situation very well, shrewdly playing her cards to establish a Hispanic voter outreach.  CNN reports that Whitman is attempting to gain political energy off of Hispanic voters’ anger against the Arizona law.  In the midst of this, she is also distancing herself from the rest of the GOP, a tactic that might work very well for her in California. 

In tailoring a specific message to the Hispanic community, Whitman reaffirmed her opposition to Proposition 187 and is using her money for placing ads directed at Spanish speakers in the state.  “Meg Whitman es una candidata diferente,” she said in the CNN report.