Jen, I’d be cautious with those CNN exit polls, which do indeed show a better-than-expected Hispanic Republican vote. While analyzing exit polling data for small populations is always dicey, according to this analysis, it was particularly so for Hispanic voters in 2010.
If Republicans like Rep. Lamar Smith spent a fraction of their time talking to Hispanics about shared conservative values, the numbers would grow. There is no question that many Hispanics have more in common with conservatives who support patriotism, traditional families, and limited government than they do with the likes of Pelosi and Reid. But the latter reach out and make Hispanics feel comfortable in their midst, and too few in the Republican Party even bother to try. Maybe Rubio, Sandoval, Martinez, et al. will increase the comfort level for Hispanics within the Republican Party, making outreach come more naturally.