The debate over how badly Republicans have damaged themselves among Latinos during the nomination battle understandably focuses on their efforts to woo primary voters by outshouting one another with ever-more-incendiary immigration rhetoric. But what if Latinos also agree with Dems about health care, jobs and the economy?
A national poll of Latino registered voters by Univision News/ABC/Latino Decisions that Democrats are circulating today has some very interesting findings that cast doubt on GOP chances of making inroads among them:
* Fifty-five percent of Latinos think the best way to help the economy grow is for government to “invest resources in federal projects to stimulate the economy.” Only 31 percent favor lowering taxes to get the economy going again.
* Sixty-one percent of Latinos trust Obama and Dems to make the right decisions to improve the economy, versus only 24 percent who pick Republicans.
* Fifty-seven percent of Latinos say Obama’s health reform law should be left to stand, versus 28 percent who support repeal.
* Romney’s favorable ratings among Latinos are upside down, at 28-41, though many are undecided.
* Seventy-two percent of Latinos say that the GOP either doesn’t care about reaching out to them (45 percent) or is outright hostile to them (27 percent). Only 17 percent say the GOP has done a good outreach job.
In fairness, 39 percent say Dems are doing good outreach, versus 37 percent who say Dems don’t care and nine percent who call them hostile — not great numbers, suggesting Dems have some work to do themselves. And along those lines, another problematic number: 53 percent say they’re less excited about Obama than when he took office. But the GOP numbers are far, far worse.
You often hear it argued that the bad economy risks dampening Latino enthusiasm, to Obama’s detriment. But Latino agreement with Obama and Dems over basic priorities such as health care and whether government should invest to create jobs could stave off losses.
The Latino vote could prove pivotal to Obama’s efforts to hold the western states in order to offset losses in the Rust Belt. And the fact that nearly three-fourths of Latinos think the GOP either doesn’t care about or is outright hostile towards them is another sign that the primary may have badly damaged any GOP hopes of making real inroads with them.