A new survey by Latino Decisions gives the Obama campaign more signs of trouble for the president’s reelection. Only 38% of Latino voters said they are certain they will vote for President Obama in 2012. This was a 5% decline since February. The survey also showed a decline in enthusiasm for voting among Latinos. According to Latino Decisions:
Matt Barreto, a professor at the University of Washington, Seattle and advisor to Latino Decisions, said that the voting intentions favoring Obama show a dangerous trend, since there is a percentage of Latino voters who are moving from the “strongly approve” column to “somewhat approve.” Meaning they still see the president in a positive light, but something has made them become less enthusiastic. “Much of the change we’ve seen in these months of polls, where the president has gone up and down in Latino polls, has to do with what’s happening now in the public arena,” said Barreto.
The approval rate and voting intentions favoring Obama, not only among Latinos but on a national level, increased after the capture and death of Osama bin Laden. The president also obtained positive results after his speech on immigration in early May in El Paso, Texas. Nevertheless, for this most recent poll, the economy and the handling of the debt crisis and the deficit were on the minds of many. So much so that in this poll, the economic issue returned to the top of the list of concerns for Latinos, after being displaced by immigration for several months. “Many people are upset about the debt deal, and in this same poll we saw that Latinos don’t want to see reductions or cuts in services,” said Barreto.
Apparently, this issue had some impact on Obama’s image among Latinos in the current poll. Over the last days and weeks, the Obama administration has taken steps to address this issue. An interesting point, as with prior polls, is that the decrease in the approval ratings or voting intentions favoring Obama does not translate into gains for the Republican side. Instead, voters remain “undecided.”For example, the Republican voting intentions among Latino voters remain the same, and they are at one of the lowest levels in the country’s history.
The progression of answers to the four polls conducted since February reveals that the Latino Republican vote continues being more or less the same, and it has not been affected by the fluctuations in President Obama’s approval rating. Only 10% of Latino voters said they are certain to vote for a Republican, while 8% said they may vote for a Republican for president. Another 4% said they are still undecided but leaning toward a Republican candidate. These percentages add up to a soft 22% that does not offer much hope to this political party, whose “brand” has become severely damaged in the eyes of Latinos, among other reasons for its tough attitude on immigration and the use of only program cuts to balance the budget.