Obama campaign signals confidence with Hispanic voters
January 30th, 2012
01:27 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama campaign signals confidence with Hispanic voters

(CNN) – As Republican presidential candidates sprint toward Tuesday's Florida primary, President Barack Obama's reelection campaign claimed Monday the incumbent Democrat had all but wrapped up the key Hispanic vote.

In a memo to reporters, Obama for America Pollster Sergio Bendixen and Director of Hispanic Press Gabriela Domenzain suggest the two leading GOP candidates had alienated Latino voters with ramped up anti-immigration platforms.

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"Their extreme rhetoric on immigration during the televised debates has rejected our history as a nation of immigrants and alienated millions of Hispanic voters nationally," the memo said. "Many Hispanics see Romney's strong opposition to the DREAM Act and to any type of comprehensive immigration reform as more of a demagogic appeal to Tea Party voters than an attempt to formulate a responsible policy."

Romney firmly pledged in December to veto the DREAM act if it reached his desk as president. The proposed legislation would offer a path to citizenship for minors in the country illegally, providing they served in the armed forces or attended college. The initiative has not gained enough support to pass Congress despite several attempts.

Gingrich has said he would support at least one facet of the DREAM act, agreeing to allow for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who sign up to serve in the military.

The Obama campaign officials assailed Gingrich for his comment that Spanish was "the language of living in a ghetto," saying the statement was "offensive at face value to Hispanics and neutralizes any credit he may have received for supporting legal status for "undocumented abuelitas."

Gingrich has argued that he was advocating for bilingual education when he made the comments, saying he wanted students to learn English to advance economically.

In the memo Monday, Obama's campaign representatives cited polling showing Republican positions being unpopular with Hispanic voters.

"The speeches and policy statements of both Romney and Gingrich on issues like the economy, the creation of jobs, health care, public education, housing, programs for seniors, and immigration are deeply unpopular with most Hispanics," the memo said.

Bendixen and Domenzain suggested in the memo Obama was poised to soundly defeat a Republican in the November general election, citing a Univision/Latino Decisions poll showing Obama defeating Newt Gingrich 70% to 22% and Mitt Romney 67% to 25%.

Responding to the Obama campaign's memo, the Republican National Committee pointed to a poll from the Pew Hispanic Center showing Hispanics feel they have been hit hardest by the economic downturn. The RNC said those figures would hurt Obama among the key voting group.

"With all eyes on Florida and the latest polls showing Obama's approval rating struggling amongst Hispanics, it is no surprise that the Obama campaign is desperately trying to gain their support by releasing a memo on how they plan to pander to Hispanic voters," RNC Spokesperson Alexandra Franceschi said.

She continued, "Obama has a Hispanic problem because Hispanics across the country have been disproportionately hurt by Obama's abysmal economic policies, and are ready for a change in direction in Washington. With the economy and jobs polling as the top issue for Latinos in this election, Obama will be hard pressed to convince Latinos to support the same failed policies."

Both Gingrich and Romney are campaigning heavily in Florida ahead of the state's primary Tuesday, and are making major efforts to reach the state's large Latino population. In 2008, Sen. John McCain took 54% of the Latino vote in Florida, compared to 14% who voted for Romney.

Nationally, Latinos overwhelmingly supported Obama in the 2008 general election, with 67% voting for Obama compared to 31% who backed McCain.

Politicians seeking to court the Latino vote face a bloc with diverse populations that don't always coalesce around a single point of view.

- CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.

Also see:

Gingrich supporter trails Romney

Romney would consider pulling NBC ad

Romney holds 14-point lead over Gingrich in new Florida poll


Filed under: 2012 • Florida • President Obama
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. rich

    That would be the legal or illegal ones. Chicago Chicago Chicago,

    January 30, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. Prosperid

    @Dave.....I agree with most of what you said. However, the GOP has made it clear that they want to see the president fail, which means at risk of the country crumbling. They fillibustered against bills that their "beliefs" would have caused them to support, such as Tax Breaks for Small Businesses. The GOP are out of touch with the middle class.

    January 30, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The American experience is about self determination and opportunity
    ------------------------
    President Obama is the embodiment of these two elements. No one can deny that. I fail tounderstand how you would believe that he is trying to discourage the same amongst the populace.
    ------------------------
    Economic incentives are an important part of what made America an economic powerhouse. People, not government
    ------------------------
    Is he not advocating giving economic incetives to company that grow their payroll by using American workers? Is he not advocating giving incentives to companies that come back to America to manufacture their products,or offer their services?

    I don't like to engage folks like you Four because inevitably you will take a portion of what is stated and spin it. I also find it akin to spitting into the wind. But for the umpteenth time, folks that think as you do fail to realize that this was NOT a normal economy that this man inherited. Drastic measures had to be taken during The Great Depression to bring this country back. This is no different. Some of the measures that Obama implemented were just a continuation of what had been started and deemed necessary under Bush. Government intervention, as much as American individualism many despise it, was and is necessary to prevent a complete meltdown. These are just the facts. The horse is dead.

    January 30, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Dave wrote:

    Hispanics are in whole very family oriented, strong Christian beliefs, strong independent and small business oriented, and see that the republican party much better match their beliefs.
    ---------
    Consider this. Black Americans are probably the most socially conservative demographic the country, but yet they seem to vote overwhelmingly Democratic. At the height of the gay marriage debate polls showed that something like 85% of black Americans objected to gay marriage, which was the highest percentage by far of any group. Black voters are also generally credited with having the highest percentage of voters that vote for what is in their best interests over social issues. More and more HIspanics that I have met have voted Republican in the past, and now vow to never to do so again. More and more and coming to the realization that Republicans serve only one master, the almighty dollar.

    January 30, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. kayla

    latinos for obama
    si se puede

    January 30, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. Larry L

    @Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    "So it appears Obama and the Democrats think they have found a new minoritiy voting group to exploit"
    ----------------------------------------------------
    Go below your ridiculous comment and read what "Dominican mama 4 Obama" wrote. She beautifully describes fundamental differences between Democrats and Republicans. You remain the King of Delusion – creating your own reality and fueling your own hatred.

    January 30, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Hmmmm... Obama supporters will be the first to tell you that deportations have increased dramatically in his administration. Careful what you vote for.
    ------
    It is a direct result of that increased border enforcement, which people like Govs. Brewer and Perry claim is non-existent. They have been stopping greater numbers of people at the border and "deporting" them back across.

    January 30, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ST:
    That broken deal was "spit-sealed" when Gov. Brewer put her bony finger in our President's face. We found that to be the height of disrespect.
    @ yogi and sf: Right back at you!

    January 30, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. kevin

    4 more years!

    January 30, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. sonny chapman

    But Mitt wants to be Prez. SO bad !

    January 30, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Hispanic voters can never be taken for granted, President Obama knows this and Republicans will never get it. Hispanic voters are less interested in Party, Black and White issues, they are interested in their respectful rights as citizens as every American should be. We could all learn something from Hispanic voters.

    January 30, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. Rickster

    So, let me get this straight.....republicans are endorsing the law of the land(and every other country's law of their land) and are getting panned for it. Democrats are touting their disdain for that law of the land and are getting kudos for it?
    This country needs some serious leadership changes.

    January 30, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The GOBP Rove wingnut/teabagger trainwreck implosion has begun.

    January 30, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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