In an interview with Spanish news agency EFE yesterday, Otto Reich, a Mitt Romney campaign surrogate for Latin America, attributed Romney’s low level of support among Latino voters to his belief that Latino voters “are not well informed.” Reich further lamented that “We’re not communicating (with those voters) as we should” — as if the Romney campaign’s low polling among Latinos should be blamed on messaging breakdowns rather than policy positions, such as Romney’s hard-line pledges to pursue self-deportation, to veto the DREAM Act, and to end the DACA program for DREAMers.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
The Romney campaign just doesn’t get it. Their latest diagnosis of their Latino voter problems could not be more inverted, delusional, offensive, or flat-out wrong. The rap that Latino voters are ‘not well informed’ is directly contradicted by the array of Latino polls that show that Latino voters have been paying close attention to the election, are deeply concerned by Romney’s hard-line immigration positions and aren’t being fooled by Romney’s recent attempts to put a velvet glove on his iron-fist immigration stances by sounding softer.
The proof is in the polling – President Obama has a massive lead of 71%-20% over Romney in the latest impreMedia/Latino Decisions weekly tracking poll, which also found that Latino voter enthusiasm may be higher than conventional wisdom suggests. Latino Decisions also recently released state-level Latino polling in the battleground states of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, and Virginia. The state polling documents not only that President Obama is up big in head-to-head matchups vs. Romney, but also that immigration is a major reason behind the historic gap.
Adding to the Romney campaign’s Latino voter problems – and further contradicting the Romney campaign’s diagnosis of their Latino troubles – the leading Spanish-language newspaper and the leading Spanish-language anchor both made cases against Romney in print today, largely because of immigration policy concerns. Today’s edition of La Opinión, the nation’s largest Spanish-language daily newspaper, editorializes in favor of President Obama’s re-election, writing of immigration:
We still believe that reform is far more likely under an Obama presidency, not a Romney administration…the Romney alternative is self-deportation and state laws like Arizona’s, in which undocumented immigrants are seen as a danger instead of as contributors…The blunt reality is that Romney has not worked to gain the trust of Latinos.
Also today, influential Univisión anchor Jorge Ramos writes in a new column (translation by America’s Voice):
For immigrants, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are not the same. Their immigration policies are very different. And the lives of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States depend, in large part, on who is elected president on November 6th.
It’s self-delusion for the Romney campaign to believe that self-deportation isn’t at the heart of their Latino voter problems. The Republican Party won’t improve its competitiveness among Latino voters until they improve their immigration policy. Period.