Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is predicting that at least 40 percent of Latino voters will cast their ballots for GOP hopeful Mitt Romney -- even though he has only 27 percent of their support now.
NBC's David Gregory on Sunday asked Gingrich how big of a problem immigration was for the former Massachusetts governor.
"Well, I think he's got to address it," Gingrich explained. "But also you have, again, Barack Obama failed on immigration reform even when he had a Democratic House and Democratic Senate."
"The number one issue is jobs, the number two issue is the price of gasoline, the number three issue is housing and the number four issue is education," the former House speaker added. "The question is if you campaign on those issues, if Latinos conclude Mitt Romney is more likely to have my family have a job, he's more likely to bring down the price of gasoline, he's more likely to have my child have an effective education, does that overcome whatever the Democratic attack is?"
"And I think he will probably get the same percent as George W. Bush did, which will be up in the 40s."
During the Republican primary battle, Romney had courted conservative voters with anti-immigration positions. He called Arizona’s tough immigration law a “model” for the country; he promised to veto the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act; and he said that undocumented immigrants should self-deport.
But now that the former Massachusetts governor has pivoted to his general election campaign, he is considering support for a version of the DREAM Act sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and insisting that he only supported the uncontroversial parts of the Arizona immigration law.
The more recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (PDF) indicated that only 27 percent of Latino voters supported Romney, compared with 61 percent who were for Obama.
Watch this video from NBC's Meet the Press, broadcast May 27, 2012.
(h/t: Talking Points Memo)