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Posted by on Oct 12, 2011 in Politics | 3 comments

Does Barack Obama Have a Looming Hispanic Voter Problem?

Amid almost daily bad political news from polling, President Barack Obama may have a new preoccupation: he’s not doing well with Latino voters:

President Obama’s numbers are cratering with nearly every demographic, but the latest Gallup weekly tracking poll shows his approval dropping most steeply among Latinos. It portends poorly not only for the president, but for a Democratic coalition that increasingly depends on their strong support.

Obama’s support among Latinos dropped 20 points since his election, with only 47 percent of Latinos approving of his job performance, according to the poll. In 2008 Obama won 67 percent of the Latino vote; House Democrats took 60 percent amid a drubbing in the midterms. As National Journal reported last week, the recession has hit Latinos particularly hard. And Obama hasn’t spent much political capital on immigration reform even though it is a top priority for Latino groups.

Talk to enough Democratic strategists about the 2012 landscape and one sees the problem extends beyond the presidency. They say a dearth of viable statewide Latino candidates is hurting the party’s chances. Only two such candidates are running next year: New Mexico Auditor Hector Balderas, who was rebuffed by much of the establishment that prefers Rep. Martin Heinrich; and retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, whose Senate campaign in Texas has been virtually silent since he announced his candidacy in May.

Balderas has a good shot of knocking off the presumably better-funded Heinrich in the primary because the majority of New Mexico’s Democratic electorate is Latino. Sanchez is a different story. Although he may win the nomination, party officials harbor few illusions about the general election prospects of the former Iraq commander of coalition forces under George W. Bush. He’s looking less like a Tony Sanchez, the Texas businessman who gave Rick Perry a run for his money in the 2002 gubernatorial campaign, and more like a candidate who simply is not ready for prime time.

Their challenges are not lost on national Democrats and contrast with Republican efforts to spotlight their newly elected Latinos, who are emerging as possible presidential running mates. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio dismisses vice-presidential talk, but would be a logical running mate for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Beyond diversifying the ticket, he is a charismatic conservative who could rally the base. Others in the mix: Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who was one of the first governors to endorse Perry and has tried playing kingmaker with his state’s third-in-the-nation nominating contest; and popular New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who would be the first Latino woman on a national ticket and would be the first woman to sit a heartbeat away from the presidency. All three hail from battleground states.

The Dems are aware of it — but can they deal with the problem in time for the election? Band aiding the problem will depend on a tweeny weeny factor…called “the economy.”

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Copyright 2011 The Moderate Voice
  • Stray Mongrel

    This is a huge part of the problem we have today.

    People aren’t American Voters, they are Hispanic or Black, or Gay or Rich, or this and that.

    We used to be a nation. Now we’re divided into various categories and targeted by campaigns in an effort to keep political power in one of 2 divided and diametric groups.

    Both of which are hell bent on screwing the other, and have the full support and cooperation of the media.

    I am not a category, I’m an American.

  • slamfu

    Until someone gets the GOP nomination and Obama actually has to be compared to a specific candidate from the other team, what does any poll about his popularity matter? They can be ZERO now, but when whatever nitwit the GOP finally settles on is picked, people will then be able to say if they’d vote for him or not. Till then, its all meaningless garbage.

  • Cannonshop

    Obama “Losing” support? um…he’s the Democrat, it’s not going to happen. No matter HOW unsat his performance, in the end, it is party-uber-alles, the only area he is even mildly at risk, is in the minority of people who don’t vote party-line, most of whom, don’t self-identify by demographics.

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