A new poll released by Pew Hispanic Center today details the latest conundrum President Obama faces in his bid for reelection. For Obama, the good news is that Latinos, a key electorate both candidates are doing their darndest to impress, support the president over GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney by a wide margin of 69 to 21 percent. The bad news for Obama is that Latinos are much less likely than the general population to say they’re certain they’ll come out to vote come November 6.
Experts have called Latinos a “sleeping giant” in the electoral game; the Latino population in the U.S. is growing fast, and the number of eligible voters has increased by four million since just 2008, making Latinos 11 percent of the electorate, up from 9.5 in 2008. But as it is, a disproportionately small fraction of eligible Latino voters actually vote; Pew found that 77 percent of respondents are certain they’ll turn out to the polls, compared to 89 percent of the general population.
All this should give new meaning to Obama’s latest overture to Latinos. In a political ad released this week featuring him speaking (some decent-sounding, according to Colorlines staffers with the expertise to know) Spanish, Obama hailed a segment of the undocumented youth population known as DREAMers.