According to a Fox News Latino poll released Monday, “likely Latino voters indicated that 73 percent of them approved of Obama’s performance in office, with over half those questioned looking favorably upon his handling of the healthcare debate and the economy, at 66 percent and 58 percent respectively.”
Fox News Latino adds that the poll shows “former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 35 percent of Latino voter support, to Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s 13 percent, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s 12 percent, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s 9 percent.”
GOP campaign strategists have repeatedly said that the 2012 elections will hinge on economic issues, a sentiment echoed by Alexandra Franceschi, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee. Franceschi told Fox News Latino that the upcoming election will be “a pocketbook election,” and that “Barack Obama has failed Latinos on the economy.”
But the GOP contenders will likely fail Latino voters when it comes to other issues. In late January, Resurgent Republic, a non-profit that “gauges public opinion” and advocates for conservative principles, indicated that Republicans might face challenges when it comes to garnering Latino votes, especially when it comes to issues like immigration policy: “Republicans continue to face challenges on their party brand, and immigration reform garners wide, bipartisan approval.”
According to Fox News Latino, almost one-quarter of Latinos said they would be more willing to vote for a Republican if Florida Senator Marco Rubio was on the ticket.
Sylvia Manzano of Latino Decisions reported in late February that Republican candidates’ opposition to the DREAM Act would not raise their appeal with Latino voters, as the act “has broad appeal to the Latino electorate.”
“Ron Paul has voted against it already as a House member, while Romney and Santorum vowed to veto the bill given the opportunity,” wrote Manzano. “Gingrich prefers compulsory military service as the path to citizenship for those whose parents brought them into the country as children without authorization.”
And, while Latino voters are overwhelmingly opposed to state immigration enforcement bills in Arizona, Alabama and Georgia, Romney and Santorum have both voiced their support for those state laws.