Obama’s lead among Latinos holds steady, but so does his enthusiasm problem
Obama holds a commanding lead over Romney among Latinos, but will they show up to vote?
President Obama continues to hold a wide lead over his Republican opponent Mitt Romney among Latino voters as the presidential election enters its final stretch, according to a new poll.
Obama leads Romney 63 percent to 28 percent among Latino registered voters nationwide, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll shows. That lead is generally consistent with Latino voter preferences dating back to last year. With the latest poll factored into Univision News’ nine-month long tracking of Latino surveys, Obama’s average lead is 66.4 percent to 23.4 percent.
The latest numbers come as Romney’s campaign Wednesday publicly set a benchmark of winning 38 percent of the overall share of the so-called “Latino vote” come November. That would put him almost on par with George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign, which won between 40 and 44 percent of the Latino vote in one of the best Republican efforts to attract Latino voters in history.
As the numbers say, Romney is a long way off from his target and must make up an almost insurmountable gap between the Republican National Convention next week and the election in November to achieve his goal. Romney faces a dual-pronged problem. His negativity rating among Latinos is at an all time high (48 percent), and Latinos side with Obama on nearly every policy issue from the economy and healthcare to immigration.
But Obama continues to suffer doubts about the enthusiasm among his Latino supporters. Per NBC’s measure, only 61 percent of Latinos say they are highly interested in the election. That’s 20 percentage points below the general population and nearly 20 points below where it was during the 2008 campaign, NBC reports.
The flagging enthusiasm has prompted some experts to believe that Latino turnout could suffer in November. But others believe that rapid population growth over the past four years could prevent a dip in turnout. Analysts believe around 12 million Latinos could vote in November, including sizable voting groups located in key swing states such as Colorado, Nevada, and Florida, as well as growing communities in Virginia and North Carolina.
Despite the fact Romney appears to be gaining little to no traction among Latino voters, the Obama campaign is taking even more steps to make him unpalatable to Spanish-speaking Latinos. The campaign released a negative television ad Wednesday that hits the Republican candidate on healthcare, housing, and immigration, even though some Latino voting experts believe negative advertising can further depress turnout.
Another interesting note: I wrote last week that Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan was unlikely to help him win over Latinos, and the poll bears that out. Fifty-four percent say it won’t change the way they vote, 28 percent say it makes them less likely to vote Repbulican and only 15 percent say it’s more likely to make them vote GOP.
(Photo: Flickr, Steve Rhodes)