Obama campaign signals confidence with Hispanic voters
January 30th, 2012
01:27 PM ET
6 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)

    The President should have no problem courting the hispanic vote when his opposotion is talking about deporting grandma.

    January 30, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Brittanicus

    The TEA PARTY does not segregate any race or nationality as the Liberal media would like you to believe, it doesn’t alienate any person who is here—LEGALLY. It just requests that the 1986 Immigration law (IRCA) enforced and not altered to pander to illegal migrants and immigrants. Learn the fact finding truth by using Google at NumbersUSA

    January 30, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair

    Hmmmm... Obama supporters will be the first to tell you that deportations have increased dramatically in his administration. Careful what you vote for.

    January 30, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Phil in KC

    I would be very careful about putting out those kinds of statements. They will not want their vote taken for granted and could easily vote the other way. As much as any segment, Hispanics seem to be swing voters.

    January 30, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Obama deceives the American people yet again. For a person that has sworn to enforce the laws of this nation, he is very ignorant of his responsibility with regards to ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. Legal immigration is embraced and supported by the Republican Party and the American people. ILLEGAL immigration is embraced and supported by Obama and the Democrats.

    Yes, yet another way to divide the country, as with everything Obama does. Talk all about unity but work to demonize those that simply expect the laws of this country to be enforced, along with its borders. AG Holder suing states that do enforce the laws of this country is outrageous and a total waste of our tax dollars. Obama and his support of the illegal invasion of this country MUST come to an end this November.

    January 30, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Savage Eagle

    That's what he thinks!!!

    January 30, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. Gurgi

    @Truth and Fair,,,,spot on as usual.

    January 30, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Nobama

    He thinks Latinos are stupid! They would vote for him no matter what.
    No jobs, Nobama

    January 30, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    He is mislead about how important the economy is to every American community. This election will be about accountability for big promises, big spending, big debt and big excuses.

    January 30, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    So it appears Obama and the Democrats think they have found a new minoritiy voting group to exploit, pander to, buy off, and then take for granted, just as the black vote is. America used to be a "melting pot" but the Democrats have turned it into a dish with dividers, pitting one segment against the other. Is it any wonder we are now seeing OWS RIOTS in Oakland? You can thank Obama and the Democrats for that. Greece, here we come... unless the American people wake up in November and get rid of the Great Divider in Chief.

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

    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%.
    Polls are nice aren't they?
    We Latinos identify with our hard-working President. We identify with his ability to connect with people across the color spectrum and socio-economic status. We identify with his over-achieving can-do spirit. We identify with and his Christianity. We identify with the love he shows for his extended family. We identify with the diversity of his background where White and Black ancestry meld comfortably together. We identify with his HUMANITY.

    I don't know what the hell those other things are that call themselves GOPers these days but I'm hard pressed to find anything that appeals to me or mine,and inspires us to respect and emulate.

    Obama 2012. Seriously America.

    January 30, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. cashmeremafia

    @Fair is Fair: True, but the majority of lawful Hispanic residents are also against illegal immigration, they just don't agree with how the Republicans would handle it

    January 30, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. yogi

    @Truth....your posts always reflect much anger and a complete absence of compassion, pretty much the GOP state of affairs.
    Can't wait until November when we continue four more years of great vision, dignity, compassion, and intelligence in the White House: Obama 🙂

    January 30, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. sf

    I couldn't of said it better my american latin sister "Dominican mama 4 Obama" :o)

    OBAMA 2012!!!!

    January 30, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. sf

    I support the deportation of illegals in this country, and i'm an Obama supporter... i trust him to do the right thing in this area than i would trust a republican any day! republicans use their power and ignorance to do these types of things with intimidation and ugliness!

    obama may have deported the most as POTUS...but at least he's following protocol! something republicans have no clue how to do!

    January 30, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. yogi

    @Dominican Mama... always great posts!
    Obama 2012 🙂

    January 30, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. rtos

    Hubris - watch your nalgas. Everybody thinks Latinos – EMPHASIS: THOSE WHO VOTE – are a monolith and all they care about is Immigration - not true - and a lot of studies (not activist blather) put it 3rd or 4th on the list in priority for Lations. To be sure, the Republicans are doing nothing to address many of the other issues on the table - and like a lot of other Americans - I am really not sure that is where people want to go - but be really careful - this sounds like Hubris that can really backfire... November is a long way off, politically.

    Deportations - they are necessary – W would not do them, in part, because he would harm one of his core constituencies. Arrests of illegals who are criminals?! Dang right - they usually do their harm in our own communities.

    So, be careful with all the attention on immigration - he should do what is right, which is a mix of stronger border control, yes, deportations, and yes, some form of DREAM / Amnest for those who are contributing to society here - but be real careful in assuming all Latinos are voting for Obama...

    January 30, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. Four and The Door

    Dominican mama 4 Obama
    ...I don't know what the hell those other things are that call themselves GOPers these days but I'm hard pressed to find anything that appeals to me or mine,and inspires us to respect and emulate.
    I have nothing but admiration for Obama's humanity. He is a good guy with a good family and a great role model for the great diversity of people in America.

    He would probably make a very good Senator or Ambassador or some other role in government. But not President. He is over his head with the economy and I do not at all buy into his idea about the huge role the Federal government needs to have in every industry and every life. The American experience is about self determination and opportunity, not distinct classes of people and limits on failure or success. Economic incentives are an important part of what made America an economic powerhouse. People, not government.

    January 30, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It is a mischaracterization on CNN's part to pronounce that the Obama camp has the Latino vote virtually locked in. The Obama camp has been hard at work reaching out to EVERYONE. We, those of us that comprise it's boots on the ground, are taking no vote for granted from any group within the electorate. We are approaching this election with methodical precision.
    Taking anything for granted is not the way President Obama got elected in '08, and it certainly is not the way he'll be re-elected in 2012.

    January 30, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  20. Dave

    Hispanics still as a majotiry support who ever is the democrat.However, hispanics are also one of the fastiest growing segments of the republican party. 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. THese changes will not be seen overnight, but they are of key concern to the democrat party over the next generation.

    January 30, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. ac

    Yes, true under Obama there have been more deportation ever, and what is wrong with that, KEY WORD IS ILLEGAL, POTUS is damn if he does and damn if he doesn't. The legal hispanic voter which includes myself feel, want to come here then do so legally, learn the language but never forget where you came from, be proud of your heritage and be proud that you came to the US legally. History has always been that most Hispanics are democrats. Then there is Rubio, he doesn't count.

    January 30, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. papanez

    To Truth and Nothing But the Truth: This president is deceiving the American people? Where do you get your 'facts' from? Old Bazooka Joe comics? This president has deported more illegals and has more border security than the true 'deceiver in chief', gwb! Quite distorting the facts. Stop making things up. Start talking about the 'real' president, not the fictionalized version continually peddled by the gop, fixed-news, and the creeps on the right.

    January 30, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  23. Skyhouse

    Most of my Latino friends speak better English than many of my non-Hispanic friends, and with a most pleasing subtle accent. If Spanish is the language of the ghetto, then English is the language of the white trash trailer park.

    January 30, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. ST

    My Latino friends tell me, they will never forget the time Jan Brewer of Arizona, gave them hard time (profiling) and ended up in protesting from every corner of the nation. That was the deal-breaker with GOP business.

    January 30, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. Ed 1

    I guess they want more government give always too vote for the President with no leadership skills, no business knowledge, spending like there is no tomorrow, have bills passed that nobody reads, and cut back on the people who keep our country free (the Military) socialism here we come.

    January 30, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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