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Recent Poll of Latino Voters Shows Support for Obama Administration But Enthusiasm Gap Favors Republicans

November 12, 2011

Latinos are projected to be nearly 9% of voters in next year’s election. A recent poll by Latino Decisions and Univision News shows a wide lead by President Obama over the top three GOP contenders. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has defended his moderate stance on immigration, polled much lower than business entrepreneur Herman Cain or former governor Mitt Romney.

According to one of the pollsters,

“I know for a while there was this interesting little meme going around about ‘Rick Perry might appeal to Latinos,’ but no, I don’t think that’s the case,” said Gary Segura of Latino Decisions.

The poll analysis cautions, however, that an enthusiasm gap among Latino voters for the Administration’s policies may result in a lower turnout for Democrats. At this point, the enthusiasm gap “significantly favors Republicans” (page 31).

Further, 42% of the respondents in the poll said the Republican Party “Doesn’t Care” about Latinos, with 30% of the respondents describing the party’s efforts as “Hostile” to Latinos. In contrast, 32% of the respondents said the Democrat Party “Doesn’t Care” about Latinos, and 8% described the Democratic Party’s efforts as “Hostile” toward them (page 22).

Republican strategists and legislators have recognized the importance of Latino voters in the next election. Many view newly-elected Florida Senator Marco Rubio as a top candidate for Vice President in the next election. However, according to a press report, recent controversies with Senator Rubio’s characterization of his parents immigration from Cuba to the U.S. make this strategy more risky.


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