Poll finds opportunities, challenges for Republicans among Hispanic voters

Will Rahn Senior Editor
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A new poll conducted by Resurgent Republic and the Hispanic Leadership Institute indicates that support for President Barack Obama in America’s largest minority community may be slipping, but that Republicans still have their work cut out for them.

Obama won a commanding majority of the Hispanic vote in 2008, and most Hispanic voters in key swing states Colorado, Florida and New Mexico still approve of his overall job performance. However, the poll finds majorities of Hispanic voters in all three states say Obama has not delivered on his campaign promises to the community and has been a weaker leader than they expected.

Majorities also said the country is on the wrong track, consider themselves to be conservatives and support voter ID laws championed by Republicans. Hispanics in Florida, a crucial battleground state, trust Republicans more than Democrats on issues of national security and government spending.

Resurgent Republic notes that, to remain competitive, Republicans do not need to win a majority of Hispanic voters. President George W. Bush won re-election in 2004 with only 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, but that number dropped to 31 percent for Sen. John McCain in 2008. The question in 2012 will be whether the Republican nominee can successfully court the growing number of independent Hispanic swing voters.

“In 2008, President Obama beat John McCain in Florida by 57 to 42 percent among Hispanics, but currently Obama is below 50 percent on two key presidential measures in the Sunshine State,” the group said in a press release. “He leads a generic Republican candidate by only 46 to 36 percent, and less than a majority of Florida Hispanic voters think Obama deserves reelection — 48 percent.”

The group further notes that “In New Mexico, Obama won Hispanic voters by 69 to 30 percent in 2008, but now leads by 58 to 28 percent, with 56 percent saying he deserves reelection. In Colorado, Obama won by 61 to 38 percent among Hispanics in 2008, and now leads 59 to 27 percent, with 58 percent saying he deserves re-election.” (RELATED: Poll: Obama’s approval with Jews still in line with general public)

The poll finds majorities of Hispanic voters trust Democrats more than Republicans on most policy issues and President Obama remains popular in the community. Hispanic voters also remain at odds with the GOP over key issues such as the DREAM Act and immigration reform.

The survey polled 1,200 Hispanic voters during September 6 – 10. The margin of error was 4.24 percentage points.

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