In their candid moments, Democrats acknowledge that abortion isn’t the issue they would have picked to lead the pitch for Latino votes. The fight was forced upon them, they say, when Gov. Rick Perry added the anti-abortion bill to last month’s special session and revived it in a second special session that started July 1.

“Is this the issue we would have picked to turn Texas blue? No,” Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said with a laugh. “It was kind of thrust at us. We didn’t pick it.”

On the surface, at least, the polls don’t look promising for a party that’s basking in the national spotlight because of a fight over abortion rights. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that 53 percent of Hispanic Catholics say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. That’s a lower percentage than white evangelical Protestants and Mormons, but it’s higher than all other religious voting groups, including white Catholics, white mainline Protestants, black Protestants, and Jews.

And Steve Munisteri, the chairman of the Texas Republican Party, cited a poll by the Wilson Perkins Allen research firm that found a 2-1 “pro-life” margin among the state’s Hispanic voters.