How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Reactions to Romney-Ryan (and not Romney-Rubio) as GOP team

Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney Announces Rep. Paul Ryan As His Vice Presidential Pick

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney introduces his vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) in Ashland, Virginia, Aug. 11, 2012

In case anyone is just waking up now, Republican presidential candidate and nominee-apparent Mitt Romney has opted not to go with a Latino vice-presidential candidate, after months of speculation that he might.

Romney announced this morning that he has chosen Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the chair of the House Budget Committee described by Reuters as a "conservative budget hawk," over the oft-mentioned Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, or the sometimes-mentioned Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico.

It wasn't an unexpected move. Critics had never quite warmed to the idea of Romney choosing a Latino candidate, and the conversation had always been surrounded by talk of how it could be perceived as pandering to win much-needed Latino votes.

Now that we know who Romney's running mate will be, here are a few early reactions to his not choosing a Latino veep candidate.


Poll: Americans 'comfortable' with religion of presidential candidates - so long as it's not Islam

Photo by waltarrrrr/Flickr (Creative Commons)

King Fahad Mosque in Culver City, Calif., Nov. 2009

What religion the president of United States embraces is relatively unimportant to Americans so long as that person has strong religious beliefs, according to a new Pew survey - unless, of course, those religious beliefs happen to be Islamic.

This is what the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life concluded after conducting a national survey between June and July on Americans' attitudes about the religious affiliations of President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney.

While some conservative evangelicals have lashed out at Romney for being Mormon, by and large, a clear majority (60 percent) of the respondents who know that he is Mormon said they felt "comfortable" with Romney's faith. The same went for Obama, provided those asked were clear on the fact that he's Christian. Among those who guessed Obama's religion correctly, 82 percent said they felt "comfortable" with his faith.


Poll: Obama maintains wide lead among Latinos

Source: Latino Decisions

It's too soon to know if Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's new Spanish-language ads touting his father's Mexican birthplace will see any payoff, but a new poll of Latino voters could well have him in an it's-time-to-try-anything position.

According to new survey results released by the Latino Decisions polling firm, President Obama's lead over rival Romney with Latino voters continues to grow. Obama, whose weak point among Latinos has been his tough immigration record, got a bump among these voters following a June announcement that he would allow some young undocumented immigrants to apply for temporary legal status. The effect has apparently yet to wear off, leaving Obama with a 70-22 percent lead over Romney among the Latino voters polled.

While Obama polled ahead of Romney among Latinos in general, his greatest lead was among the first generation. Among naturalized citizens, Obama led Romney 72-19 percent. He also led by a wide margin among Latinos who are Spanish-dominant, 76-15. More from the poll results:


Mitt Romney's son in new TV ad: 'My grandfather George was born in Mexico' (Video)

Earlier this year in an interview with Univision, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney talked about how he felt it would be "disingenuous" of him to claim Mexican heritage, although his father and grandfather were born in Mexico as descendants of Mormons who migrated from the United States. But as polls show how badly Romney needs Latino voter support, no more.

In a new Spanish-language TV ad addressing immigration, his son Craig Romney, a fluent Spanish speaker, talks about how his father values "that we are a nation of immigrants" and says: "My grandfather George was born in Mexico."

It's not the proverbial hair net that comic George Lopez invoked during his recent standup tirade, in which he accused Romney of not wanting to admit to being Latino. But it's significant.

From a transcript of the Univision interview in January, here’s how Mitt Romney explained his position on his ethnic identity:


Just how independent are Latino voters?

Photo by nathangibbs/Flickr (Creative Commons)

So are Latino voters as solidly behind President Obama as recent polls have indicated, or is there still wiggle room for the GOP before November? A new USA Today/Gallup poll would suggest the latter, but it's necessary to read the fine print.

According to the poll conducted in April and May, 51 percent of Latino respondents overall self-identified as "political independents." Only 32 percent identified as Democrats, and 11 percent as Republicans. Once pressed on which way they lean politically, however, many more leaned Democratic, as did the registered voters. From the poll results:

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There are some interesting side notes. According to Gallup, the poll results "confirm a growing trend toward independent political identification among U.S. Hispanics in recent years, surpassing the 50% mark in 2011" and mirroring a national trend in the general population.