Everyone knows certain colors have to be mixed to get just the right shade. That applies to politics as well as printing.
The most recent Howey/Depauw Battleground Poll, released last week, showed Republican Mitt Romney ahead of Democrat Barack Obama, 52-40, in the presidential race. But the numbers behind those top numbers are more telling for the political parties' long-range prospects.
Howey Politics Indiana Publisher Brian Howey reported Obama has 95.2 percent of the African-American vote and 71.8 of the "non-white" vote that includes Hispanics and Asians. Romney has 56.3 percent of the white vote, but only 17.3 percent of the non-white vote and no African-American support.
Now look at the long-term population trends. Rachel Justis of Indiana University's Indiana Business Research crunched Census numbers that show Indiana's minority population grew 30 times as fast as its white population between 2000 and 2010. You can expect that trend to continue.
So which direction will those minorities lean at the ballot box? That depends on the policies the political parties are pushing.
A CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday afternoon showed 70 percent of likely Latino voters supported Obama.
Obama has moved forward on immigration reform, at least as far as he can without congressional action, by implementing some key aspects of the DREAM Act. Obama ordered that immigration crackdowns not automatically include illegal immigrants who were brought to this country as children. In essence, Obama is saying the nation shouldn't hold children responsible for their parents' crimes. Obama gets painted as the good guy in Hispanics' eyes.
The perception of Romney, and thus all Republicans, as looking out for the interests of wealthy white people at the expense of minorities and the middle and lower classes is something Republicans should be worried about. Whether a perception is true or false, it influences how people vote.
I talked to state Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, about this potential demographic time bomb for his party. Charbonneau said fellow Republicans need to do a better job of communicating their party's ideals.
Communicating isn't easy in a political environment where everyone is shouting and few seem to be listening. But if Republicans know what's good for them, they'll look not just to the next election but also to elections that might be years away.
Remember, it takes a blend of colors to get the right shade of red.
Editorial Page Editor Doug Ross can be reached at (219) 548-4360 or (219) 933-3357 or Doug.Ross@nwi.com. Follow him at www.facebook.com/DougRossNWI and on Twitter @nwi_DougRoss. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.