Latino Decisions released a national poll today, showing 66 percent of registered Latino voters in favor of President Barack Obama. With 23 percent of participants certain or leaning towards Republican Mitt Romney, this poll gives Obama a 43-point lead on the Massachusetts governor. The poll shows an even greater margin among foreign born Latino voters: Only 17 percent of that group support Romney compared to Obama’s 69 percent. The wide margin reflects the known disdain for Romney among Latino voters, an opinion they’ve expressed since LD first started asking about an Obama-Romney match-up last November. Seven months ago, LD’s preliminary poll put Obama at 67 percent among Latinos, compared to Romney’s 24 percent.
The poll also asked registered voters -- Latino and non-Latino -- about their opinions of the alternative DREAM Act that Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) recently proposed as a Republican-friendly alternative to the 2001 DREAM Act, which was originally introduced by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). The original Act provides legal resident status to undocumented immigrant youth as well as a path to citizenship if they attend college or serve in the U.S. Military. Rubio’s provides temporary status on a renewable visa to undocumented immigrant youth that attend college or serve in the U.S. military, but does not put them on an automatic path to citizenship. Eighty-seven percent of Latino voters strongly or somewhat strongly supported Durbin’s DREAM Act, while 49 percent supported Rubio’s version.
Ultimately, however, an overwhelming majority of Latino and non-Latino voters prefer Durbin’s proposal to Rubio’s proposal.
With five months until Election Day, Romney still has time to earn the trust of Latino voters. In an article for the Los Angeles Times earlier this spring, New America Schwartz Fellow Tamar Jacoby argued that it was in Romney’s best interest to openly support Rubio’s version of the DREAM Act. “Truth is he has a lot to say that Latinos could find appealing -- if they could hear him. But they can’t hear him because some of what he says on immigration is so off-putting, many stop listening to the rest of his pitch.”
Does Romney have what it takes to close the margin? On July 9, New America will host an event to discuss the Latino vote in the upcoming presidential election. Watch Delve for more details on this upcoming event.