The Enthusiasm Question

Yet another poll shows President Obama with a commanding lead among Latino voters. According to a survey commissioned by NBC News, the Wall Street Journal and Telemundo, Obama leads Romney 67 percent to 23 percent among Latino registered voters. Romney’s favorability with Latinos is incredibly negative, with 22 percent saying they have a positive view of the former Massachusetts governor, and 44 percent saying they have a negative view. Moreover, Romney hasn’t convinced Latinos that he would be effective on the economy; 53 percent say that Obama has better ideas to improve the economy, compared to 22 percent for Romney. Overall, 58 percent of Latinos approve of Obama’s handling of the economy.

It should be said that this has the virtue of being true; Romney’s plan for the economy—a series of small bore measures to increase energy production and bolster trade relationships—would have a small affect on the short-term economy. And his tax plan, which ends several stimulus related tax breaks, would reduce tax benefits for working Americans, and leave them with slimmer pocketbooks. Because Latinos are disproportionately lower-income, these policies would have a greater and more deleterious affect on their well-being.

One last thing. Obama has a strong advantage among Latinos, but they’re still less enthusiastic than voters writ large:

[T]he number of Latinos who are enthusiastic about voting (ranking their interest in voting at 8,9, or 10 on a scale of 1–10, per NBC’s model), is at 68 percent. By comparison, 79 percent of all voters put themselves in that “high-interest category.

It almost goes without saying that Obama’s bid for re-election depends on his ability to bring Latino turnout to 2008 levels, or even a little higher. With high nonwhite turnout in general, he can make up for his weakness with white voters. Anything less, and we can look forward to President-Elect Romney on November 7th.

For more polling information, go to The Prospect’s 2012 election map.