In Swing States, Obama Wins Big with Latinos

The latest poll from Latino Decisions—which surveys five Latino-heavy swing states—suggests that President Obama has gained in a big way from his immigration order. Fifty-four percent of Latino voters are now more enthusiastic about voting for Obama than they were before the order, with a particular increase in Arizona and Nevada, where 62 percent and 60 percent of Latinos say they are more enthusiastic about voting for Obama in November.

Overall, according to Latino Decisions, Obama holds strong support among Latinos in Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, and Florida:

Compared to 2008, this is a mixed picture. In Virginia, the president's support has dropped from 65 percent; in Florida it’s dropped from 57 percent; and in Nevada it’s dropped from 76 percent. On the other hand, Obama is winning like gangbusters in Arizona; his support has increased by 18 percentage points. That’s certainly enough to make the state a possible win for the Obama campaign, even if he loses white voters by a greater percentage than he did four years ago. Likewise, his support has increased by 9 points in Colorado, making it more likely that he holds on to the state.

Indeed, for Obama, this poll provides two welcome pieces of news. First, he still has room to grow in both Florida or Virginia. If he can bring his Latino support to 2008 levels, or somewhere close–and also maintain his current support among white voters–he’s in a decent position to win both states. Second, and more broadly, is the fact that Obama is in some ways a beneficiary of polarization. Latinos have largely made up their minds about the GOP, and are willing to give the bulk of their support to Obama. In fact, with the exception of college-educated whites, the same is true for most demographics, which—as Nate Cohn explains at The New Republic—is largely responsible for the fact of Obama’s surprisingly resilient approval rating.