[Posted by Karl]
Let’s break down the latest from Univision News:
According to the poll released Tuesday — one year before Election Day 2012 — registered Latino voters in the 21 states with the largest Latino populations prefer Obama over the top three GOP presidential candidates, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, and Rick Perry by two-to-one margins. The president is up 65 percent to 22 percent on Cain, 67 percent to 24 percent on Romney, and a whopping 68 percent to 21 percent on Perry.
That will come as welcome news to the White House as the president prepares for what is shaping up to be a difficult reelection campaign. Obama’s numbers in the Univision News poll equal his performance with Latinos in 2008, when he won over two-thirds of the vote. Each GOP contender received less than the approximately 31 percent Latino support the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), received.
Latinos support Obama in greater numbers than the general voting public. Among registered voters nationwide, Obama holds the largest lead over Perry at 10 percent, with his edge over Romney at 9 percent. Cain, meanwhile, is within 6 percent of the president.
In general, polls more than 300 days out from an election have little predictive value at all. In particular, in November 2007, you can bet neither Obama nor McCain was drawing a big Hispanic vote, as neither was considered likely to be the nominee. After the primaries, Gallup had Obama leading McCain by 62% to 29% with the Hispanic vote, but an AP-Yahoo News poll found Obama leading McCain 47% to 22%, and the Pew Hispanic Center had Obama leading McCain among Hispanics by 66% to 23%. (The Pew report also noted Obama lost the Latino vote to Hillary Clinton by a nearly two-to-one ratio in the Democrat primaries, which underscores the point about early polling.)
In short, McCain ultimately performed at the high end of the Summer 2008 polling range with Hispanics, despite the fact that a financial panic intervened between those polls and the election. Although we will never know for sure, such numbers suggest even the Summer 2008 polling tended to understate McCain’s support among Hispanics. Whether the same would be true of next year’s GOP nominee remains to be seen, but Obama’s sliding job approval numbers among Hispanics suggests it might.
Also note Univision’s numbers for the general voting public do not line up well with national polling. That’s an artifact of the states Univision polled. It makes sense to poll the states with the largest Hispanic populations to measure Hispanic voting, e.g., California, Illinois, New York, Texas, etc. However, the general sample for that method is going to skew to favor the Democrat.
Given that the GOP is not likely to win states like California, New York and Illinois in 2012, the real story continues to be Team Obama’s efforts to mine Hispanic votes in swing states out west. On that point, it is interesting that in the key state of Colorado, the 2008 vote did not depend on liberal migration, and may have depended on taking the Starbucks approach to the campaign. That’s probably why Obama is investing early and often in his ground operations.