The demographic changes in the US and the growing Hispanic vote has been the topic du jour in the early election season. A consistent theme among punditry is the overwhelming lead Obama has among this voting bloc.
However, a strange problem for Obama is that every demographic group he outperformed with in 2008 has largely reverted to the norm this election cycle — except for Hispanics. But if Obama still leads overwhelmingly among Hispanics, and might even be outpacing his 2008 performance, why was he concerned enough to make such a bold (and likely unconstitutional) move with his executive order on immigration and deportations? Because consistent with Gallup’s findings (linked above), Hispanics may simply not show up at the polls like they did four years ago:
Hispanics overwhelmingly approve of President Obama’s recently announced immigration policy and give him a 40-point lead over Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to results from a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Telemundo poll. Obama’s job approval among Latinos has also seen a four-point boost, within the poll’s margin of error, since the immigration announcement. But the president still faces a challenge in energizing Latinos to vote. Hispanics — the largest-growing demographic group in the country that could also hold the key to Obama’s re-election bid — are not as interested in this election, so far, as they were at the same point during the 2008 election. The poll was conducted June 20-24 after the president’s immigration pronouncement.
Their interest in this election remains far below 2008 levels, and lags well behind other key groups this cycle. To measure enthusiasm, the pollsters asked respondents to say how interested they are in this November’s contest, on a scale of one to 10. Adding up the 8s, 9s, and 10s gives a good measure of who the most likely voters will be this fall.
***Two-thirds – 66 percent – of Latinos put themselves in this high-interest category. Last month, it was 68 percent. That’s much lower than the average of 80 percent in this poll for all adults.***
It’s particularly problematic for Obama’s re-election chances, considering some of the highest-interest groups are ones likely to vote for Romney – Tea Party supporters (89 percent), McCain 2008 voters (88 percent), conservatives (84 percent), those 65 and older (83 percent), Republicans (83 percent), and whites (81 percent). Several key Obama voting groups come in above 80 percent – post-grads (87 percent), urban voters (86 percent), college-educated women (84 percent), Democrats (83 percent), liberals (83 percent), Obama 2008 voters (83 percent), African Americans (81 percent). But Hispanics and young voters, two key pieces of the puzzle, see a big drop off. Young voters are even lower than Latinos, at just 61 percent.
Consider that in July 2008, four-out-of-five Hispanics – 80 percent – were in the high-interest range. That rose to 100 percent by November, with 92 percent saying they were a 9 or 10. In this poll, just 52 percent of Latinos said they were a 9 or 10, below the 68 percent of all respondents. In July 2008, 64 percent of Hispanics said they were 9s and 10s.