February 11, 2013
WE HAD TO CONVINCE THEM WE HATED THEM TO GET THEM TO VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRATS:
Hispanic Support for Obama Was No Sure Thing (Charlie Cook, 2/11/13, National Journal)
Posted by Orrin Judd at February 11, 2013 5:23 PMIn January 2012, Obama's approval rating among Latinos stood at only 55 percent, 12 points below his share of the 2008 Latino vote. During 2011, his rating among this group dropped as low as 48 percent, with a 41 percent disapproval rating. In other words, Obama's big electoral win among Latino voters, who made up 14 percent of his total vote according to national exit polls, was not a foregone conclusion.For much of the president's first term, grumbling among Latino voters was considerable. The jobless rate was significantly higher among Hispanics than the population as a whole; indeed, the Latino unemployment rate was at 12 percent or higher for 20 of 24 months during Obama's first two years in office; it was in double digits for 45 of the entire 48 months. Not that many blamed Obama for a recession that began before his election, but who could fault Hispanics for feeling disaffected or less-than-energized about his reelection?And although Hispanics took offense at much of the rhetoric emanating from many conservatives and certain Republicans at the time, the deportation rate of undocumented workers was running at a higher rate in the first three years of Obama's presidency than it had during George W. Bush's administration. Given the key role that Latinos had played in Obama's 2008 win, this particular leg of his coalition looked pretty wobbly just a year and a half before Election Day.Little wonder that when pollsters, including Gallup, Peter Hart and Bill McInturff for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal, and others, asked Latino voters eight or nine months ago how enthusiastic they were about voting or how likely they were to vote, the response was like the sound of one hand clapping. It looked as if Obama might not only get a lower percentage of the Latino vote""that is, winning it but by an unimpressive margin""but that turnout among this key group might be lower as well.So what happened? The president's trial-heat matchups against Romney and other potential Republican challengers were always better than Obama's often underwhelming approval ratings. Romney only exacerbated this lack of enthusiasm for the GOP by suggesting that some Hispanics might consider "self-deportation" and by making other clumsy moves as he sought to outflank Texas Gov. Rick Perry on the right during their party's presidential primaries. So to a certain extent, Romney's troubles were self-inflicted.