Mitt Romney‘s struggles in earning Latino support have been well-documented throughout the campaign. But what gets less attention is the drastic gap in support for Romney and President Barack Obama among Latina women. According to a tracking poll from the firm Latino Decisions, Latina women prefer Obama to Romney by an astounding 53-point gap.
Romney has spent considerable campaign resources trying to improve his image with Latino voters, including a recent round of Spanish language ads that aired after the Republican National Convention. He will make another push today in Los Angeles, where he will address the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce with a speech that will slam Obama for the grim economy and high unemployment, which have hit the Latino community particularly hard. Romney will also talk immigration, but excerpts released by his campaign provide nothing new in terms of specifics.
Why is Romney struggling with Latina women? Latino Decisions suggests a few possible reasons:
- The firm polled voters on the question of which party they trust more to “make the right decisions and address issues of concern to women.” Among women, the results showed some distressing signs for the Republican Party:
Photo: Latino Decisions
- Romney’s vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, is not helping matters. Last month, Latino Decisions pollster Sylvania Manzano told Business Insider that Ryan’s use of the term “anchor babies” in a recent town hall is seen as a slur to Latina women.
- Last week, the Obama campaign released an ad that hit Romney for opposing Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court, a point that Manzano surmises is a sensitive issue to Latinas.
- Manzano writes that the economy and immigration policy are not necessarily separate issues. “Many Latinas – whether they are parents or not – think of the DREAM act as a long-term solution that provides economic and employment opportunities for their friends, children and larger community,” she says.
The gap in support among Latinas is not yet comparable to the gap in preference among African-American women, which stood at 86 points in a recent Gallup poll. But it’s a distressing sign for a Republican Party that has tried to take steps this election season to lure Latino voters, and for a party whose nominee is on track for the lowest percentage of the Latino vote since 1996.
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