GOP Polls: Obama Losing Ground Among Hispanics in Key States
President Obama won two-thirds of the Hispanic vote in 2008, but according to new Republican-commissioned polls of Hispanics in three key battleground states, Obama has lost some ground among the crucial voting bloc.
The GOP group Resurgent Republic, in conjunction with the Hispanic Leadership Network, another Republican organization, commissioned polls in Florida, Colorado and New Mexico. Each is a state with a significant Latino population that Obama won in 2008 but went for George W. Bush in 2004. And in each state, the GOP polls claim, Obama is underperforming among Hispanics, compared to three years ago.
In Florida, when matched up against a generic Republican, the poll shows Obama leading, 46 percent to 36 percent. In 2008, Obama won Latinos in the state, 57 percent to 42 percent. That represented a reversal from 2004, when Bush won 56 percent of the Hispanic vote in the state.
Hispanic voters in Colorado chose Obama over a generic Republican by a wider, 59-percent-to-27-percent margin, according to the poll -- roughly in line with the 61 percent he won in 2008, according to exit polls. In New Mexico, Obama earns 58 percent support against a generic Republican in the poll, down from 69 percent in 2008.
The polls also show that Hispanics in all three states overwhelmingly think the country is headed in the wrong direction, and most Hispanics believe that Obama has not delivered on the promises he made to Latinos during the 2008 election.
"Given the strong dissatisfaction Hispanics register in these three swing states with the direction of the country and the strength of the President's leadership," write former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and Republican consultants Whit Ayers and Leslie Sanchez in a memorandum accompanying the survey, "it will be difficult in 2012 for President Obama to rack up the margins among Hispanic voters that he achieved in 2008."
The poll also shows some challenges for Republicans. On most issues, Hispanics in these three states favor Democrats, and Democrats still hold a big edge in party-identification among Latino voters. Furthermore, the memo states, "Republican positions on immigration reform continue to be at odds with the overwhelming majority of Hispanic voters."
According to the poll, majorities of Hispanic voters in each state want an immigration reform bill that includes earned legalization for undocumented immigrants -- a position that is anathema to most of the Republican caucus, including the party's presidential candidates. Some Republican leaders have urged the party in recent years to adopt a more moderate tone on immigration reform, but since failed efforts on the issue during the Bush administration, the party as a whole has largely moved away from that position.
"To remain competitive in the future in national elections and in states with significant Hispanic populations, including the three crucial swing states we have polled here, Republicans must increase their share of the Hispanic vote over that they have received in recent elections," the memo concludes.
The three polls were conducted from Sept. 6-10 by Ayers, McHenry & Associates, an Alexandria, Va.-based Republican consulting firm. The polls surveyed 400 registered, Hispanic voters in each state. The margin of error by state is +/- 4.9 percent.