Although the national political media establishment has moved on from Florida to the West, Marco Rubio will continue to be a major presence throughout the year, as speculation focuses on him as a potential vice-presidential nominee.
During the past couple of weeks in Florida, interest in how Hispanics might vote was a prominent theme, and Rubio was frequently called upon to express his views — which are quite conservative on the issue of illegal immigration.
And that puts him to the right of many Latino advocacy groups. An ad slamming Rubio for those views is airing on cable news on Friday in the Sunshine State.
The ad was produced by the Berkeley, California-based Presente Action. Arturo Carmons, executive director of the group, says, "Senator Rubio’s flowery and moving rhetoric on immigration fails to include any concrete proposals. While citing public support for various immigration reform ideas, in most instances he fails to articulate his views on them. Not once does he commit himself to do anything substantive about an issue he professes to care about so deeply."
Rubio does not support a pathway to citizenship as part of comprehensive immigration reform, and he opposes the Dream Act — legislation that calls for undocumented students who were brought to the United States as minors and have lived here for at least five years to be given a path to legal residency if they graduate from U.S. high schools.
Despite the buzz perpetrated by the mainstream media that Rubio would be the elixir that would cause undecided Latino voters to flock toward the GOP ballot this fall, there is evidence that outside of Florida, Rubio is hardly a household name among Latinos.
A Pew Hispanic survey taken in December asked Latinos their opinion of the freshman U.S. Senator.
The survey revealed that Rubio is not well-known among Latinos. When asked their opinion of Rubio, more than half of Latinos say they have either never heard of him (39%), respond “don’t know” (11%) or can’t rate him (2%). Similarly, more than half (54%) of Latino registered voters say they either have never heard of him (40%), don’t know (10%) or can’t rate him (4%).