Mitt Romney’s Latino problem

Al Kamen
Columnist September 18, 2012

Mitt Romney’s new effort this week to cut into President Obama’s lead among Latino voters — he began Monday with a speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles — looks to be a tough proposition.

The latest tracking poll by Latino Decisions — which includes data reflecting the full impact of the party conventions — finds that Obama picked up three points, rising to 68 percent support compared with Romney’s 26 percent.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. View Archive

Sen. John McCain got an estimated 31 percent of the Latino vote when he lost to Obama in 2008. George W. Bush won with 35 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2000 and 40 percent in 2004. A Romney strategist has said the Republican will need to pick up 38 percent to win.

But most every analyst who assesses the Latino vote immediately pivots to asking: “But will they turn out?”

And that’s where the latest poll shows an even rockier road for Romney. Before the two conventions, the weekly tracking found a slight enthusiasm deficit compared with four years ago, with 37 percent of Latinos more enthusiastic about voting this time around, compared with 40 percent who were more enthused in 2008. The new pool reverses those numbers and then some, with 40 percent of this heavily pro-Obama demographic more enthusiastic about this year and only 30 percent looking more favorably at 2008.

And it’s pretty clear where former president Bill Clinton is going to be in the next 49 days.

The poll found Obama with an impressive 71 percent approval rating and Romney dropping a bit to 24 percent. But Clinton has a stunning 82 percent favorability rating among Latinos.

Other polls have found that Clinton has a 67 percent favorability rating among all seniors. So that may be a clue to his forthcoming travel plans. (Note to Bill: Take lots of sunscreen.)

11 seconds to impress

World Bank alert! President Jim Yong Kim is on the move again. The former Dartmouth College president is returning Thursday to the J Building — across 18th Street from the main bank building — to visit employees of the World Bank Institute, which handles education and training programs overseas, or, as they now say, “capacity enhancement.”

Kim will be there for just an hour, from 10:30 to 11:30, according to an e-mail we got the other day from Sanjay Pradhan, vice president for the WBI.

“We would like all WBI staff to come to the front office area before 10:30 to welcome the President,” Pradhan advised, then everyone back to their desks at 11, “when President Kim starts walking around on both 3rd and 4th floors.”

Pradhan advised that “we do not need to prepare particularly, but everyone should be ready to do an ‘elevator pitch’ about your work program and what has been exciting about your experience with development at the Bank/
WBI. I also encourage you to participate actively in the interactive session with the President.”

(An “elevator pitch,” we’re told, is what you say when you have 11 seconds on an elevator to sound important.)

This memo— as opposed to the one in July to an another bank division — doesn’t instruct employees to clean up their work areas before the presidential visit. But try to get that done before Kim begins his “Walk around & pop-ins” at 11:00 on the fourth floor and 11:15 on the third floor.

Better than fantasy football

Election Day is seven weeks away, but there are only five days before the Friday midnight deadline to enter the Loop’s quadrennial Pick the President contest.

Simply tell us:

●The winning candidate.

●The number of electoral votes he’ll receive.

●His percentage of the popular vote.

Up to 20 entries choosing the correct candidate will win — the 10 closest to the electoral-vote total and the 10 closest to the popular-vote percentage (specify to the tenth of a point). Ties go to entries first received.

Winners get one of our highly coveted Loop T-shirts.

Send entries — only one set of predictions per person — to intheloop@washpost.com. Be sure to provide your name, profession, mailing address and T-shirt size (M, L or XL), in case you’re a winner.

(Congressional and Obama administration aides may enter “on background.”)

You must include a phone number — home, work or cell — to be eligible. Deadline for entries is midnight Friday.

On injured reserve

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro is recuperating and working at home after a “surgical procedure” Thursday, we’re told. Expected back on the job Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler was hospitalized after a fall at his home Sept. 9. He suffered four cracked ribs and a punctured lung, we hear. He’s been working from home and should be back at the office shortly.

It’s clearly good to be king, as Mel Brooks famously observed. Maybe not so great being chairman.

Going private

Took him only 25 years, but Jonathan Adelstein, administrator of the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service and before that commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, is leaving government work and heading to the private sector.

We’re hearing that Adelstein, who worked for 15 years as a Senate aide, the last seven as a senior aide to then-Majority leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), is in line to become president and chief executive of PCIA, the Wireless Infrastructure Association — the trade group for the industry that includes companies such as AT&T and Verizon, as well as the people who build all those cell towers so you can actually make those calls, download that data and so on.

With Emily Heil

The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.

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