Poll: Obama maintains advantage among Latino voters
Mitt Romney has been unable to break through to Latino voters.
President Obama retains a strong lead over Republican rival Mitt Romney among Latino voters, according to a new poll released Wednesday.
Obama leads Romney 67 percent to 23 percent among Latino registered voters polled by NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo. The president’s lead is built upon his popularity among Latino voters and Latinos’ belief that he would do a better job fixing the economy and handling immigration.
Romney’s favorability among Latinos is a net negative, with 22 percent saying they have a positive view of the GOP’s presumptive nominee and 44 percent having a negative view. By contrast, 64 percent have a positive view of Obama and only 21 percent view him negatively.
Republicans have attempted for months to close the gap among Latino voters, fearing that it could endanger their chances of winning key battleground states where the Latino population has exploded over the past decade.
Our WSJ/NBC 3-month merge of 900 Hispanic voters finds Obama up, 65-25. Among Spanish-speaking Hispanics O’s margin is 49 pts. #election2012— Neil King (@NKingofDC) July 25, 2012
Romney and the GOP have driven home the message that Obama has hurt the economy, citing the fact that the unemployment rate for Latinos remains stuck at 11 percent, much higher than the rate of the general population.
But that message has yet to convince more Latinos to support Romney. Fifty-three percent say that Obama has better ideas to improve the economy, not a staggeringly-high number, but only 20 percent say Romney has better ideas.
Overall, 58 percent approve of Obama’s handling of the economy, higher than the 44 percent of the general population who say the same.
And on immigration, another top issue for Latinos, 55 percent say Obama would do a better job handling the issue, while 16 percent say Romney would do better.
While Republicans have pointed out the tough economic times facing Latinos, high unemployment, home foreclosure rates, and poverty, Latinos are generally more optimistic than other voters.
They are about evenly split on the direction of the country, 41 percent say it’s on the right track, while 45 percent say it’s on the wrong track. Sixty percent of all voters say the country is on the wrong track.
The poll came after a slew of immigration-related news events that Democrats have looked to solidify their Latino support, including President Obama’s effort to halt deportations for young undocumented immigrants and the Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s immigration law.
The one nagging concern for Obama when it comes to Latinos is his ability to motivate them to show up on Election Day to vote.
But the number of Latinos who are enthusiastic about voting (ranking their interest in voting at 8,9, or 10 on a scale of 1-10, per NBC’s model), is at 68 percent. By comparison, 79 percent of all voters put themselves in that “high-interest category.”
The poll comes after other recent surveys showed Obama’s Latino support as low as 59 percent and as high as 70 percent. Obama’s Latino support has traditionally hovered in the mid-60 percent range during this election cycle.
The poll surveyed 300 Latino voters in English and Spanish between July 18-22. The margin of error is 5.7 percent.
(Photo: Flickr, NALEO Educational Fund)