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Romney wins GOP nomination, but still has long way to go to win Latino votes

Mitt Romney has been officially nominated as the Republican presidential candidate, but it's not because of his popularity among Latinos.

In the latest voter tracking poll from the Latino Decisions firm, Romney has continued to lose ground with Latino voters, while President Obama has gained on the heels of a recent decision to grant temporary legal status to some young undocumented immigrants via deferred action.

The poll, conducted by Latino Decisions with the Spanish-language media company impreMedia, shows 65 percent of those polled saying they would vote to re-elect President Barack Obama vs. 26 percent saying they would prefer to vote for Romney. Obama's favorability among Latino voters also remains much higher than Romney's. Recently, Romney's campaign established that the GOP candidate would need 38 percent of the Latino vote to win in November.

These tracking polls will now be taking place weekly, writes La Opinion's Pilar Marrero on the Latino Decisions blog. From her analysis of the poll results:

The Latino vote is important because even though this community represents a relatively small percentage of the national vote (NALEO predicts 8% of the national vote will be Latino), the way we vote in the U.S., state by state, and the closeness of this election makes it relevant.

In the most recent national surveys Obama and Romney are neck and neck in both the popular vote and in states that are crucial to win the majority of the Electoral College, like Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Among the states where Latinos will be important are Colorado, Florida and Nevada, among others.
Some possible reasons for the stagnation of the Republican candidate are also reflected in the survey. One is the fact that Latino voters primarily blame former President George W. Bush for the state of the economy and not necessarily to President Obama. 68% blamed Bush for the economic downturn of recent years and only 14% blamed Obama.

Another possible clue is the personal popularity of President Obama among these voters, who maintains a high level of 74% favorability, compared to only 27% for Romney.

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