I made a number of blog posts on demographics and the Hispanic vote when this blog began a few months ago. My main thrust was a) The Obama campaign misrepresents which demographics’ vote won them the 2008 election, and 2) Hispanics enthusiasm is way down from 2008 so even if they support Obama by greater numbers, that support may not show up on election day.
The first point remains as true as ever, but it is the second point that gets curiouser by the day. The brunt of my time is spent blogging Battleground polls but occasionally I’ll delve into a national poll or two. The national polls regularly reveal the trend the Obama campaign had been gunning for — Hispanics prefer Obama by a greater margin nationally than they did in 2008. This is good news for Obama and his “coalition of the ascendent” argument for why he will win re-election. State polls often don’t provide demographic preferences so I haven’t spent time combing through the numbers since they’re rarely there to begin win. But one of Jim Geraghty’s confidential sources has looked at these numbers and points out many intriguing surprises:
Conventional wisdom holds that Mitt Romney is faring so badly with Hispanic voters that he cannot possibly win. A recent CNN/ORC poll of Hispanics nationally finds President Obama has the support of 70 percent Hispanic voters compared to 26 percent for Mitt Romney. By comparison, John McCain got 31 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008. National polls can be deceiving because they survey Hispanics from populous states like California and New York, who are overwhelmingly Democratic voters. Let’s look at the polls of Hispanics in the key battleground states of Florida, Nevada, and Colorado.
- PPP Florida Poll this week shows Romney with 47% of Hispanics and Obama with 49%.
- In 2008, Obama took 57% of the vote compared to McCain’s 42%.
- WSJ/NBC/Marist Nevada Poll this week shows Romney with 36% of Hispanics and Obama with 62%.
- In 2008, Obama took 76% of the vote compared to McCain’s 22%.
- ARG Colorado Poll this week shows Romney with 38% of Hispanics and Obama with 53%.
- In 2008, Obama took 61% of the vote compared to McCain’s 38%.
Why the improvement?
Team Romney has made some very smart adjustments in both the tone and substance of Romney’s stance on immigration, which is a gateway issue for Hispanics
- Romney announced that he would allow undocumented “Dreamers” who were offered a two-year deferral on deportation by Obama to stay in the country if he becomes President
- he would seek a permanent legislative solution for these undocumented young achievers who pursue higher education or serve in the military
Hispanics — who have experienced sharply higher rates of joblessness under Obama than the general population — are increasingly receptive to Romney’s core message of promoting upward mobility and creating 12 million jobs through pro-growth policies
- a new Latino Decisions national poll has Romney at 33 percent among Hispanics, a seven point increase from a month ago.
The bottom line: Obama is not where he was with Hispanic voters in 2008 and Romney is steadily improving on McCain’s showing, which will be critical in carrying these battleground states. Mitt’s strong debate performance the other night will no doubt boost his numbers among independent Hispanics voters. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that Mitt Romney will do at least as well as George W. Bush did among Hispanics in 2000 (35% of the vote nationally), and he will win a majority of Hispanics in Florida.