Despite two weeks of widespread political coverage in which both parties made an effort to reach out to Latino voters, enthusiasm about November is still very much in question. Wave 3 of the impreMedia/Latino Decisions tracking poll did not find any noticeable increase in levels of enthusiasm or certainty to vote, and to the contrary, the poll found a small decrease compared with two weeks ago. While general election campaigning is just getting started and enthusiasm may peak in late October, as of today, more Latinos say they were more enthusiastic back in 2008 than they are in 2012. Still, President Barack Obama continues to maintain a large lead among Latinos following the DNC Convention with 66% support to 29% for Mitt Romney. Turnout though will be the key in many swing states, as we have outlined on the Latino Vote Map. Latino voter turnout is going to be critical in states like Colorado, Nevada, Florida and Virginia, and while a majority of Latinos currently plan to vote for Obama, the bigger question is just how many will come out to vote? In 2008 we saw record turnout, but so far in 2012 enthusiasm remains a question. [View Full Wave 3 Results]
Further, after two weeks of national convention outreach, both parties have seen decreases in their favorability ratings. In week 1 of our tracking poll congressional Democrats registered 64% favorability and in week 3 they stand at 53% (however, Obama continues to perform better than congressional Democrats with 72% favorability). Likewise, when asked about how good or bad a job they were doing at outreach to Hispanics the Democrats fell from 59% approval in week 1 to 49% approval in week 3 following the DNC. The news for Republicans is far worse. GOP favorability among Latinos was 32% before either convention and is now just 26% (and Romney tracks quite similarly with 27% favorability). The percent rating Republicans positive on outreach actually increased, but from an anemic 14% to only 19% today who say Republicans are doing a good job reaching out to Hispanics.
While the conventions gave both parties a chance to shine, it also opened up an opportunity to unleash attacks against one another on a national stage. According to the impreMedia/Latino Decisions week 3 tracking poll, Latino voters identify too much fighting and negative politics as a major problem. A clear majority of Latinos say fighting by both parties in Congress is the real reason the economy is not recovering faster.
At their convention two weeks ago, the Republican Party attempted to push a message of economy, economy, economy as their leading mantra in winning Latino voters, but the polling data does not support them on this. Overwhelmingly, Latino voters reject the idea that the slow recovery is Obama’s fault. Two weeks ago our tracking poll found, a large majority of Latino voters (68%) blamed the policies of the Bush administration for creating the economic conditions we face today and few blamed Obama policies (14%). Last week, Latinos said they trust Obama and the Democrats to fix the economy by a 2-to-1 margin over Romney and Republicans (59% to 30%). And now this week, a majority of Latinos blame partisan fighting in Congress, not the President, for the recovery being so slow.