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Obama slightly down among Latinos post-debate but Romney stuck in low 20s

by Mahwish Khan on 10/15/2012 at 9:44am

By and Latino Vote Matters:

ImpreMedia & Latino Decisions released the latest in a series of tracking polls today revealing support for President Obama slipped from 72% last week to 67% this week, suggesting that his debate performance also led some Latino voters to re-evaluate the President. Those who said they are certain to vote for Romney increased slightly from 20% last week to 23% this week.  When asked how important the presidential debates are, 76% of all Latinos said a candidate’s performance in the presidential debate was important in how they evaluated a candidate. [Full Oct 15 results posted here]

With little-to-no attention on Latino voters on the national level since the conventions, enthusiasm among Latinos voters has slightly dropped indicating the race may have turned more into a matter of turnout rather than candidate support.

Two weeks ago, 93% of voters described themselves as “very enthusiastic” or “somewhat enthusiastic” about this election, but that number dropped to 81% in this week’s poll.  With little change in the partisan numbers for Obama and Romney, the enthusiasm numbers may the most crucial indicator on Election Day, with the Latino vote being cast as decisive in many states such as Florida, Nevada, Colorado and Virginia.  The tracking poll is nationally representative across all 50 states, and enthusiasm in competitive states may be higher than the national average.

“The convention and events right after had a very positive effect for President Obama,” said Monica Lozano, CEO of impreMedia “but his performance in the first debate has led to a new round of questioning by Latino voters especially among the independents.”

According to data from the poll, 32% of registered Latino voters identify as Independent, and within this group 51%, say they are planning to vote for President Obama, 29% say they will vote for Romney and 20% are undecided.

“The debate, and perhaps more importantly the press coverage after the debate, affected Latino voters like all others,” stated Gary Segura of Latino Decisions. “Support for the president, and enthusiasm for turning out to vote, have both dropped measurably. This effect extends to his party. While the president still enjoys a considerable advantage over Governor Romney and the Republicans, it is clear that he and his campaign have serious work to do to recover the heights they reached in the post-convention bounce.”

When asked if they thought Democrats were doing a good job of reaching out to Hispanics, 53% said yes compared to 65% a week ago, again suggesting the President’s debate performance impacted support for the Party as well.  However, there have been no signs of improvement in perceptions of the Republican Party with 17% saying the GOP was doing a good job of outreach to Hispanics.

Evaluation of National Latino Leaders

This week’s polling data also found that very few Latino elected officials have national name recognition, with a few exceptions. In the battery of favorability ratings, the impreMedia-Latino Decisions tracking poll included questions about six Republican, and five Democratic Latinos that have received national attention as of late.  While many may be well-known in their home state, very few have much national recognition.

Leading the list was Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa with 39% favorable, 11% unfavorable for a net favorability of +28.  Still 15% had no opinion and 36% had never heard of Villaraigosa. Next on the list was New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez with +23 net favorability and 41% saying never heard of.  Third on the list was San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro with +19 net favorability, but a majority (53%) saying they had never heard of him.  On the Republican side, the most recognized was Florida Senator Marco Rubio with 31% favorable compared to 21% unfavorable, and 38% “never heard of”.  Other Republican Latinos who have been campaigning for Mitt Romney had very low name recognition, which may suggest limited appeal.

METHODOLOGY

This is the eighth release of an 11-week tracking poll of Latino registered voters. Each week impreMedia and Latino Decisions will release a new rolling cross- section of 300 completed interviews with Latino registered voters across all 50 states. Interviews are conducted in English or Spanish, at the preference of the respondent, all conducted by bilingual interviewers at Latino Decisions calling center, Pacific Market Research. The survey averaged 10 minutes in length, and has an overall margin of error of 5.6% on results that approach a 50/50 distribution. All respondents confirm that they are Hispanic or Latino and currently registered to vote. This third wave of the survey was fielded Oct 5-Oct 11, 2012

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