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Markos on Obama’s Waning Support From Latino Voters, and How Immigration Is Behind It

by Mahwish Khan on 09/07/2011 at 10:17am

Markos MoulitsasTwo must read posts from Markos Moulitsas on the Latino vote and its implications for 2012, especially for Obama.

The first post is titled, Obama’s waning Latino support:

This is distressing:

[T]his is the third consecutive week he has earned less than majority support from Hispanics, and the current 44% — also registered the prior week — is his lowest from this group […]

Notably, his approval rating among several groups that previously gave him strong majority support — postgraduates, Hispanics, 18- to 29-year-olds, and lower-income Americans — is now below the 50% threshold.

So perhaps Obama has bigger problems than just the “professional left”? This notion that Obama’s critics are a small subset of the left is ridiculous, as the data clearly shows. And it’s clearly justified—as the president has spent more time this year talking about deficits and austerity than he has about jobs.

Latinos, in particular, are feeling burned after years of hearing the administration brag that they were deporting more undocumented immigrants than Bush did. (Not to mention this.) Obama recently reversed course, of course, but Spanish-language media has treated it as election-season pandering, and it kind of is.

The second post, titled, What drives Latino approval ratings of president, includes an interview of Matt Barreto from Latino Decisions with Alicia Menendez. Markos offers this analysis of why immigration matters to Latinos:

But in case you’re wondering why immigration is particularly salient in my community:

53% of poll respondents reported personally knowing an undocumented person, whether a relative, friend, or co-worker. Additionally, 25% of respondents reported personally knowing someone who “faced detention or deportation for immigration reasons.” […]

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, “These are remarkable findings. It shows that immigration is the top priority among Latinos, and why this is the case. This issue is personal. It’s about family, future and full acceptance.

Every time someone rails against immigrants, it’s an attack on our very self-identity as Americans, it’s an attack on our families, and it’s an attack on our broader community. While jobs may impact the community more directly, rationally speaking, immigration hits us at an emotional level. That’s why it competes so strongly against the economic concerns that dominate the top concerns of other groups.

It’s particularly interesting how immigration rates with the youngest Latinos. Given the difficulties in turning out youth voters, and given how strongly they vote for Democrats, giving them any reason to stay home election day is catastrophic.

And there are dire consequences for Obama if Latinos stay home:

And it gets worse:

Currently, only 38% of Latino voters are certain they will vote for the president next year. This number was 43% in February, when impreMedia/Latino Decisions did a similar poll, and it had increased to 49% in June after the capture of Osama bin Laden and Obama’s speech in El Paso reaffirming his support on immigration.

With numbers like that, Obama will have a hard time winning Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida and other swing states with heavy (non-Cuban) Latino populations. So you can complain about people pointing out the obvious (Obama is in the gutter) and demand people cheer on his failed approach, or you can push for a new approach, one that actually wins votes.

This has nothing to do with the “professional left”. Shooting the messenger never won an election.

We couldn’t agree more.

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