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.


Three months is an eternity in politics. Will the voters believe the economy has improved enough on election day to reelect? At this point the electoral votes are very soft. I thought four years ago that the economy was going to be so bad that whoever won was likely to be a one term president. It's truly a shame. If the one shot stimulus had been bigger, big banks broken up, and financial regulation strengthened when he had a Democratic congress I think his chances would be much better. These things are still theoretically possible but only if Obama is reelected. Otherwise, expect the concentration of the nation's wealth to continue to rise to the top and the safety net to continue to deteriorate.

I think Romney's choice of Ryan was intended to sacrifice the middle of the road, and make up for it by exciting the Tea Party to do all that door knocking work. In the last election, Obama was sold as somewhat better than the second coming. No matter how good a president he is, he can never live up to that billing. Inevitably his supporters will not be as enthusiastic as last time. One the other paw, Romney is far crazier than McCain, so people may turn out to vote just to ensure he does not win. Crooked voting machines and crooked voter registration filtering is much more important than the Obama camp realises.

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