Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 | 2 a.m.
President Barack Obama’s standing with Latino voters has weakened to the point that he cannot count on them to secure his re-election in 2012, a Democratic pollster warned Thursday.
In a memo set for release from the prominent Democratic firm Lake Research Partners, pollster Joshua Ulibarri writes that while Latinos still gravitate more toward the Democratic Party, Obama’s “current numbers among Latinos are not what they need to be if they are to be a base vote protecting against a surging Republican vote among working class and senior white voters.”
In a poll conducted this fall by Lake Research, only 43 percent of Latinos said Obama’s job performance was good (25 percent) or excellent (18 percent). A majority rated his performance fair (33 percent) or poor (22 percent).
The survey tested 600 Latino voters in 25 states with high-density Latino populations between Sept. 26 and Oct. 5.
On the congressional level, Latino voters still break strongly for Democrats, according to the poll. Fifty percent of Latinos in the poll said they would vote for a Democrat in the 2012 congressional elections, while just 24 percent said they’d vote for a Republican.
But both parties hold dismal job approval numbers among Latinos. Seventy-one percent of respondents said Democrats in Congress were doing a fair (42 percent) or poor (29 percent) job. That number was only a little bit higher — 76 percent — for the congressional GOP.
“The difference between Democrats and Republicans, while both do very poorly, is in intensity, with 29 percent of Latinos believing Democrats are doing a poor job compared to 38 percent who believe Republicans are doing a poor job,” the pollster writes. “That 9-point difference helps protect a Democratic lead in the congressional ballot.”
The memo argues that amid a prolonged economic downturn, Latino voters have become less optimistic and less inclined to believe the American dream is attainable.
“This attitude, that it is becoming harder to reach the American dream, is extensive but a bit more dramatic among women (74 percent harder) compared to men (69 percent). In fact, younger men are the only group where fewer than seven in 10 (67 percent) believe it is becoming harder to reach the American dream,” it says. “Latinos are not more optimistic for the next generation of Latinos. Seventy-one percent of registered Latino voters believe it will be harder to achieve the American dream for the next generation, compared to just 9 percent who believe it will be easier.”