New Poll Shows Obama Widening Lead Among Latino Voters


President Barack Obama talks with Mexican President Felipe Calderón
A new national poll of Latino registered voters conducted by Latino Decisions shows Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 70% to 22%.  This poll marks the first time that  Obama has reached the 70% mark among Latino voters in the poll.  In addition, Obama has a significant lead over his opponent in virtually all segments of Latino voters.  Latinos are seen as a key group for Obama to win if he is to earn a second term.
Obama leads Romney 72%-19% among foreign-born, naturalized citizens, and 69%-25% among U.S.-born Latinos.  Among Spanish-dominant Latinos, Obama leads 76% to 15%, and 66% to 28% among English dominant Latinos.  Even 13% of Latinos who identify themselves as Republicans plan to cross-over and vote for Obama in November.  Obama also has a substantial lead (71% to 21%) over Romney in 13 key “battleground” states — Ariz., Colo., Fla., Iowa, Ind., Mich., Mo., N.C., Nev., Ohio, Penn., Va., and Wisc.) lean very heavily towards Obama, 71% to 21% for Romney.
The results of the Latino Decisions poll differs from that of the Quinnipiac Poll released on July 12.   That poll showed 30 percent of Latino voters support former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney’s Republican bid for the presidency while 59 percent backed President Obama.  The differences stem from two reasons.  First, the Latino Decisions poll was conducted after a month of the Obama campaign’s outreach to Latino voters, including the June 15 Dream Act announcement, appearances by President Obama and Vice-President Biden at the NALEO, NCLR and NAACP conferences, and President Obama’s condemnation of the Arizona immigration law.
The second reason has to do with the two polls’ methodologies.   The Latino Decisions poll had 504 respondents, the Quinnipiac Poll just 143 (and was part of a larger poll).   Consequently, the margin of error for the Quinnipiac Poll is nearly double (+/- 8 points) of the Latino Decisions poll (+/- 4.4 points).
In addition, national polls often do not obtain an accurate geographic representation of Latinos because they draw a nationally proportionate sample of all America.  As a result, Latino residents are included in the poll wherever they surface.  The problem is that Latino population is not spread out evenly across the United States, but is concentrated in certain geographical areas. For example, New Mexico has the 8th largest Latino population, but nationally it ranks 36th in size. Likewise Ohio has the 7th largest population nationally, but ranks 20th among Latino states.  Unlike the Quinnipiac Poll, the Latino Decisions poll sampled Latinos in the areas in which they resided.
Whether the difference in Latino voter preference between President Obama and Governor Romney is 48 percent or 29 percent, the key still is whether Latino voters will turn out to vote in the records numbers they did in 2008.  If not, political observers predict President Obama’s election prospects will be substantially reduced.
Photo credit: Official White House Photo