Barack Obama won the Hispanic vote in 2008 by a 67-31 margin, mostly by focusing resources on the Latino community, promising Hispanics a better economic future under his new administration and pledging action on immigration reform. Yet, two years later he has yet to fulfill his promises to Latinos. Support for President Obama among Hispanics has plummeted in the last several months, as low as 47% this year.
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“I don’t know how Obama wins without winning a massive majority of the [Hispanic] vote again,” said Bettina Inclan, a New York-based GOP consultant who works with Hispanic voters in California and Florida.
Recent polls show Obama’s declining support in the Hispanic community, down to the mid-50s, she said. That “pretty bad for Obama, so the White House has noticed and we’ve seen a ramp-up in the effort by the White House to show [Hispanic voters] ‘I have not forgotten you,’” she said.
Hispanics are primarily worried about the economy and jobs, but Obama may try to boost registration, turnout and his percentage of the votes by advertising his support for some form of amnesty, despite having failed to pass an immigration laws since he gained power, she said. It would be hard sell, because his pitch would be “‘trust me, this time, I’ll come through,’” she said.
“Republicans can counter this outreach to Hispanics by simultaneously offering a good economic message and by showing respect towards Hispanics, Inclan said. “I don’t believe in amnesty, and there’s probably a very large number of Hispanics that agree with me,” she said. But, “more than anything else, people don’t like [disrespectful] rhetoric about immigration, and that’s what gets them upset,” she said…
GOP candidates around the country have successfully managed the immigration issue, Inclan said. In 2010, GOP Hispanics won the Florida Senate seat and governor’s jobs in new Mexico and Nevada, Inclan said. “They had positions on immigration, but they talked about jobs and economy,” she said. Also, Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich and other GOP presidential aspirants have a good record in reaching out to Hispanic voters, she said. Hispanic voters “want to feel that you care about them, that you care about what they say… and that their children lives will be okay,” she said.