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Latino voters: Obama more appealing than GOP rivals

December 29, 2011 |  3:44 pm

A new poll released this week by the Pew Hispanic Center found that Latino registered voters overwhelmingly preferred President Obama to some of the Republican presidential hopefuls.

In a hypothetical race, Obama led former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by 68% to 23%, the survey found. And against Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the president led by 69% to 23%.

That’s hardly surprising, at least not to anyone who has followed recent GOP debates. The Republican candidates have been locked in a battle over who can come up with the least-impressive fix to the nation’s dysfunctional immigration system. Electrified fences, double walls, drones and a quasi-militarized zone sum up the ideas offered up. 

No doubt Latinos don’t like the strong anti-illegal immigrant tone raised in some of the debates. But they aren’t too happy about the Obama administration’s approach to immigration, including record-setting deportation rates, the survey found.

Like all voters, Latinos don’t cast their ballots based on a single issue. Education, jobs, and healthcare remain a top concern for everyone.

Surely, the poll results will remind some of the GOP's stumble in California. In 1994, Republicans endorsed Proposition 187, the ballot initiative that sought to cut off nearly all benefits to undocumented immigrants. The party's decision to support such a draconian measure alienated an entire generation of Latino voters. 

But perhaps the real question behind the Pew survey is not whether Latino voters overwhelming prefer Obama but rather whether they overwhelming dislike the GOP's field of candidates. Put simply: Obama is less of a turn-off than Romney or Perry.


Illegal immigration: The party of nada

Latinos unhappy with President Obama's deportation policy, poll finds

Newt Gingrich stands out on immigration at Republican debate

-- Sandra Hernandez

Photo credit:  Evan Vucci/Associated Press

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