Obama holds leads over the top three Republican presidential candidates in a new poll conducted by Latino Decisions for Univision News, with the president enjoying far wider advantages among Latino voters, an area of strength that could ultimately prove crucial come next year’s election.
According to the poll released Tuesday — one year before Election Day 2012 — registered Latino voters in the 21 states with the largest Latino populations prefer Obama over the top three GOP presidential candidates, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, and Rick Perry by two-to-one margins. The president is up 65 percent to 22 percent on Cain, 67 percent to 24 percent on Romney, and a whopping 68 percent to 21 percent on Perry.
That will come as welcome news to the White House as the president prepares for what is shaping up to be a difficult reelection campaign. Obama’s numbers in the Univision News poll equal his performance with Latinos in 2008, when he won over two-thirds of the vote. Each GOP contender received less than the approximately 31 percent Latino support the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), received.
There's one note of caution, however.
As the president himself has acknowledged, the excitement among his supporters is no longer what it was three years ago. If that results in a steep drop-off in turnout, especially at a time when a record number of Latinos are predicted to hit the polls, that could prove damaging to Obama’s re-election chances.
And the Univision News poll suggests that Obama could indeed experience that problem with Latinos. Only 47 percent of registered Latino voters say they are very enthusiastic about voting in 2010, compared to 61 percent of national registered voters.
Forty-eight percent of Latinos say they were more excited about voting in 2008 than this year — 13 percentage points higher than the national sample — and 53 percent say they are less excited about Obama than they were three years ago. Forty-four percent of Latino Democrats, a plurality, share that sentiment.
It all comes down to turnout!