THIS WEEK: ARE LATINOS CON ROMNEY OR OBAMA?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

While President Obama enjoys a wide lead among Latino voters across the country, Mitt Romney has made some headway with Latinos in swing states, according to this week’s tracking poll by Latino Decisions for impreMedia. The poll showed that 33 percent of Hispanic voters in ten battleground states were “certain” or “thinking about” voting for Romney, a slight gain from prior weeks for the Republican candidate.
Still, the same poll found that President Obama had his strongest week to date with those surveyed. Fifty one percent of Latino voters in ten battleground states said they trust Obama more than his opponent to handle the economy, compared to 27 percent who said they trusted Romney and Republicans more.

Nationally, 72 percent of voters favor Obama on the economy, and more than 20 percent favor Romney — a significant increase from just four weeks ago when 59 percent favored Obama and 30 percent favored Romney. Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan have campaigned on a promise of economic recovery in the Hispanic community, where the unemployment rate sits at 11 percent, three full points higher than the national average. Despite the GOP‘s focus on their economic message, Latino voters are siding with Obama nationally when it comes to the issue.
Furthermore, Romney lacks strong “core support” from respondents in the Latino community,” according to Latino Decisions. Just 10 percent of those surveyed said they had a “very favorable” opinion of Romney, while 55 percent of those surveyed had a “very favorable” opinion of Obama.
The Latino Decisions pollsters in part attribute Obama’s gain this week to Romney’s recent ’47 percent’ comments. “Romney’s infamous comments about the ’47 percent’ are clearly hurting him among Latinos,” Matt Barreto of Latino Decisions said. “He appears out of touch with the average working class family.” Latinos will play a key role in the election, as a growing population in key swing states, many pollsters argue. However, questions remain about just how many of these voters will turn up to the polls on election day.

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LESS THAN 5% OF POLITICAL TV AD MONEY GOES TO SPANISH-LANGUAGE MEDIA

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

With the negative ads flying in this year’s political campaigns, many voters may be struggling to separate fact from fiction. But some Hispanic Americans would rather hear a few tall tales than, some critics say, be taken for granted. Both Democrats and Republicans say they’ve made the Hispanic vote a priority. But less than 5 percent of all political TV ad money goes to Spanish-language media, according to a study released Monday by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It’s a matter of respect for some Hispanic leaders, who see the lack of funding as a dismissal of the fastest-growing voting bloc, and one that is expected to play a critical role in November. The campaigns are excluding millions of voters from the political conversation, said Javier Palomarez, president of the Hispanic chamber.

“Like all Americans, Hispanics are perfectly capable of judging negative advertising for what it is,” Palomarez said. “What matters is that campaigns prioritize Hispanic voters in a manner that is equivalent to their ever increasing electoral significance.”

Many Latinos are watching English-language broadcasts and the campaigns should take that into account, but they also should not ignore Spanish-language media, said Arturo Vargas, executive director of National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Voters who watch Spanish-language channels are more likely to be naturalized citizens. And naturalized citizens tend to vote in higher percentages than native-born Latinos, who are more likely to take the right to vote for granted, Vargas said.

Some 12 million Hispanics are expected to vote in this year’s election. Their vote is seen as critical in swing states with large Hispanic populations, such as Nevada, Florida and Colorado. Voter turnout is at the forefront of both President Obama’s and GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s efforts to mobilize the Hispanic community.

Just $16 million of the approximately $360 million spent on all campaign television advertising since April has been used in Spanish-language markets through Sept. 25, according to the chamber study, which has been tracking TV ad spending. The study tracked advertising spending in 10 states: Florida, Colorado, Virginia, Nevada, Arizona, California, Illinois, New Mexico, New York and Texas.

In Florida, Hispanics make up about 16 percent of registered voters, yet Spanish-language ads accounted for just 7 percent of the $107 million spent on all political advertising in the state. Miami, one of the nation’s largest Hispanic markets, does better. Candidates and supporters spend about 31 percent of their ad dollars on Spanish-language media trying to woo the largely Cuban, Puerto Rican and Colombian electorate.

Democrats spent nearly twice as much, or more, than Republicans on Spanish-language ads in Florida, Colorado and Texas. Of the 10 states studied, Republicans outspent Democrats only in New York and spent the same amount, which was nothing, in Illinois and Virginia. The advertising markets studied in Virginia did not include the Washington metro area.

Getty Images

The gap in political spending is particularly stark in California, where less than 3 percent of spending is on Spanish-language ads despite Latinos making up nearly 20 percent of registered voters, and in Texas, where less than 6 percent of spending is on Spanish-language ads despite Latinos making up 23 percent of registered voters. Neither state is considered competitive in the presidential contest.

“Television advertising is reality,” said Ken Goldstein, president of Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, which conducted the study. “Campaigns can say they have a bunch of money, but if they’re not advertising then they don’t have a bunch of money. Campaigns can say a state is competitive, but if they’re not advertising there, the state is not competitive. Campaigns can say they want to talk about a particular message, but if they’re not doing it in their paid advertising, they’re not serious.”

In the presidential race, $10 million was spent on Spanish-language TV ads and $158 million spent on English-language ads. Democrats spent more than twice as much as Republicans on Spanish-language ads. The numbers include spending both by parties and so-called “Super” PACs.
Romney released his latest Spanish-language ad, titled “Nuestra Comunidad,” last week featuring the former Massachusetts governor clasping hands with Hispanic supporters and posing for photos with Hispanic children. Republican Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno, who narrates the video, pledges that Romney can “revive the American dream” for Latino families. The Romney campaign plans to “spend more on Spanish-language advertising” than either John McCain or George W. Bush did in their 2008 and 2000 and 2004 presidential races, according to Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.

The Obama campaign said its Hispanic outreach efforts are more about substance than spending and boasted the campaign has been running Spanish-language radio and TV ads since April. The campaign uses many forms of digital communication.

President Obama heps organize a group of kids for a photo outside the Lechonera El Barrio cafe in the Azalea Park neighborhood of Orlando, Fla. The president had stopped to pick up lunch and paused for photos with the children. (David Nakamura/The Washington Post)

“Throughout the campaign, we have used all the tools at our disposal, from innovative advertising to grassroots organizing in the Latino community to promote the president’s record,” said Obama spokeswoman Gabriela Domenzain. Some observers question whether the lack of advertising in Spanish-language markets is because of trends that show more Hispanics tuning in to English-language TV.

Univision and ABC announced this spring that they would partner to build the nation’s first English-language news and information channel for U.S. Hispanics. Based in Miami, the 24-hour channel is expected to begin airing next year.

But Palomarez called it a “gross miscalculation” by any campaign to spend 96 percent of its advertising on English-language markets. He noted that top shows on Univision often rivals the viewership on major English-language networks.“The numbers speak for themselves,” he said.

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DID OBAMA AND ROMNEY BOTH COME OUT AS WINNERS AT THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ELECTED OFFICIALS CONFERENCE?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

A high-profile gathering of Latino public officials turned out to be a win-win for President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, according to interviews with those who attended. Democrats did not take Obama to task for waiting so long to stop deportations of young illegal immigrants, and Republicans expressed relief at Romney’s presence and softer tone.

“I think people are ready to give both of them, really both of them some pass,” said Ron Garcia, a Republican from Southern California and a member of the board of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. “There’s some time now to digest what the two candidates have to offer.”

photo source: CBS News

The fast-growing Latino community is a pivotal voting bloc in several battleground states, including Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, North Carolina and Arizona. Obama won two-thirds of the Latino vote in 2008 and is doing even better than that in some polls this year. Analysts estimate that Romney needs to win as much as 40 percent of the Latino vote to win the White House, a goal he is not reaching in several states and one made harder by the tough immigration rhetoric he and other Republican candidates employed during the primaries.

Watch President Obama’s remarks at NALEO.

Obama’s standing with Latinos was reflected in the enthusiastic cheers and multiple standing ovations he received at NALEO. Better yet for him: the only subject that came close to generating as much fervor as his new policy on undocumented youth was his mention of the Affordable Care Act, a toxic subject in much of the country.

President Barack Obama greets supporters at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference, Friday, June 22, 2012, at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. President Obama was scheduled to address the crowd later in the day. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)

“I was very moved by it,” said Mary Rose Wilcox, a Maricopa County supervisor from Phoenix, Ariz. “I saw a toughness that I had not seen the last time he came to NALEO and I like that a lot, because he has done so much — in terms of not only what he did with the executive decision (on young immigrants) but also with the economy.”

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, holds a baby as he greets attendees at the NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) conference in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

While Obama had a natural advantage at the conference, Romney benefited from offering his own ideas for immigration reform in front of a polite audience. His proposals, aimed in part at keeping families together and highly educated foreign students in the United States, allowed him to move away from his much-scorned “self-deportation” language and reintroduce himself as a general-election nominee sympathetic to the concerns of Latino voters.

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, holds a baby as he greets attendees at the NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) conference in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

“I was a little upset with him over some of the harshness with respect to immigration in the past, but what he said today was something I find appealing,” said Juan Zapata, a self-described moderate Republican who chairs the NALEO Education fund. “Softening that rhetoric with regards to immigration will definitely go a long way towards helping Republicans.”
Watch Romney’s remarks in the video (skip to 4:30).
If Romney’s speech was part of the learning process of how to speak to Hispanic voters, “he’s on the right track,” said Longwood, Fla., city councilman Bob Cortes, who is a Republican.
Key to the satisfaction of several Republicans at the conference was a sense that Romney did not outright reject the ideas behind the DREAM Act, legislation that would create a path to citizenship to people brought to the United States illegally as children, if they pursue a college education or military service.

Activists from the Student Immigrant Movement march in support of the DREAM Act. | AP Photo

However, several Democrats — including Obama — pointed to Romney’s emphatic opposition to the DREAM Act during the primary campaign. Many called Romney’s ideas vague and accused him of deliberately avoiding saying whether he would overturn Obama’s new policy of letting young undocumented immigrants apply for temporary deportation reprieves and work permits (Romney said in his speech he would propose comprehensive reform that would “supersede” Obama’s order).

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks at the NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) conference in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (AP2012)

Many gave Romney credit for appearing at the conference even with the knowledge that the crowd would be largely comprised of Democrats supportive of Obama. “I think he basically showed them that he did care one way or another, he did believe in the Latino vote and that he did believe that immigration is an issue,” said Republican political consultant Esteban Ferreiro. “I think he did what he needed to do within his beliefs.”

Even Democrats like Utah State Senate minority leader Ross Romero said Romney’s intentions seemed sincere, even if his policy proposals were too general. “The fact that he spent 20 minutes, 30 minutes walking the rope line after his speech said to me that he knew he had work to do, he knew that he needed to make those one-on-one connections, and the fact that we were respectful when he was speaking lent for that opportunity,” Romero said.

Read More: CBS News

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FORMER COMMERCE SECRETARY CARLOS GUTIERREZ LEADS THE REPUBLICAN HISPANIC DREAM TEAM: “JUNTOS CON ROMNEY”

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez leads the Hispanic Dream Team “Juntos con Romney” along with former Attorney  General of Puerto Rico José Fuentes and former Administrator of the  Small Business Administration Hector Barreto, Fox News Latino reported.

Despite the current 2-1 hold President Obama has on the Hispanic vote, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney hopes to persuade some of those voters to rally behind him by emphasizing his position on the economy.

Jae C. Hong/AP

While Romney’s earlier position immigration distanced him from many Hispanic voters, the May jobs report, which placed unemployment among Hispanic Americans at 11 percent last month, up from 10.3 percent in April and highest level yet in 2012 the National Journal reported, could make Hispanic voters give Romney another look.

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures during a campaign stop at Southwest Office Systems, Tuesday, June 5, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Recently, at a Hispanic-owned business in Texas, Romney attacked the “Obama economy,” saying that under the current president, the economy has been “particularly hard on Hispanic businesses and Hispanic Americans.” Romney went on to call the president “anti-small business” and “hostile” to the small businesses environment which has made it harder for businesses to hire more people, the Washington Post reported.

The Romney campaign asserted a similar message on its YouTube Channel and released, “Fine.” The video, which presented President Obama as out-of-touch with the job market, criticized him for his recent assertion that “the economy is doing fine.”
Keeping to that message, the channel also released a video in Spanish entitled “Deprimente” or “Dismal” which shows a supporter of President Obama asserting that the country is on the right path and then contrasts that with the current economic statistics for Hispanic Americans.
Still, despite these efforts, a new Latino Decisions national poll reveals President Obama has a 43-point margin over Romney among Latino voters.
One reason for the vast gap could be that President Obama is currently outspending Romney significantly in Spanish-language media. While the president has already invested $1 million over the last five weeks, to emphasize the president’s health care and education reforms, Romney has spent about $13,000 on Spanish-language media since he became the unofficial official republican nominee, the National Journal reported.

Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez File photo by Leslie Smith Jr., USA TODAY

However, those numbers could change. Romney recently created a committee entitled  “Juntos con Romney,” or “Together with Romney,” led by former  Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, former Attorney  General of Puerto Rico José Fuentes and former Administrator of the  Small Business Administration Hector Barreto, Fox News Latino reported.

 “The Hispanic community has been especially hard-hit by President Obama’s  policies,” said Gutierrez in a press release. “Instead of spurring economic  growth and creating jobs, President Obama has only expanded government and hurt  job creation. We need a leader who will bring back jobs, help small businesses,  and ensure that the American Dream remains for future generations.”

Mitt Romney addressed the Latino Coalition summit at the US Chamber of Commerce… (Mario Tama/Getty Images )

 Romney’s advisors are also trying to get him to soften his earlier rhetoric on immigration, Boston.com reported.  Currently Romney is “studying” a modified version of the Dream Act, proposed by Romney’s potential pick for Vice President Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl) which would grant non-immigrant visas to young people here illegally if they go to college or serve in the military, ABC News reported.

The Dream Act was killed by a narrow margin (55-41) in the Senate when Democrats failed to break a filibuster in the Senate. The Dream Act with a broad bipartison support was to provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who came to the United States as a child upon completing specific requirements. The failure to pass the Dream Act was heart breaking for millions of immigrants who had thought 2010 would have been the year where American would embrace the hard working immigrant communities across the country.

Whether or not Romney’s outreach will make an impact will soon be put to the test. Romney wil speak June 21 before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, the day before President Obama addresses the group. The speech could provide a clear contrast between the two candidates on a variety of issues, Boston.com reported, which might sway more voters to say sí se puede or juntos con Romney.

Read More:  FOX News Latino

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TOP 9 LINGERING QUESTIONS ON THE POLITICAL IMPACT OF GAY MARRIAGE

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

WILL GAY MARRIAGE HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE LATINO VOTE?

President Obama made history at the White House yesterday when he told my GMA co-anchor Robin Roberts that he supports same-sex marriage. But how will the politics play out come November?  That’s the question we’re tackling today on the Bottom Line.

Hard to read — and certain not to supplant the economy as the campaign’s top issue.  No question that’s right.  To borrow a phrase from Donald Rumsfeld, Obama’s shift raises more “known unknowns” than firm conclusions.  So I have more questions about the politics of same-sex marriage right now than answers.
Here are my top nine:

#1 — Will this fire up Christian Conservatives who have had some real qualms about Mitt Romney and skepticism about his Mormon faith?  Enough to put them enthusiastically in Romney’s camp in solid numbers?
#2 — Did this cost President Obama North Carolina? We saw the results of the referendum on Tuesday with 79 percent of the electorate supporting a ban on same-sex marriage. Additionally twenty percent of voters in the Democratic primary voted against Obama, which could show that he’s got some trouble in a state he won four years ago.

#3 — Will this motivate under 30 voters enough to get their turnout back to 2008 levels? We know they haven’t been “fired up” yet, but it’s also true that young voters are driving support for gay marriage.  According to our ABC News/ Washington Post poll 61 percent of voters under the age of 40 support same-sex marriage compared to only 40% of voters over the age of 65 who support it.  Will Obama’s shift make them believe again that he’s the candidate of “hope and change?”
#4 — On the flip side, how much will older voters be turned off?  Are they more likely to focus on Obama’s stance on gay marriage, or Romney’s plans for Medicare?  That’s the key question for this group — and how they turn could make the difference in the mega battleground of Ohio.  Same goes for Iowa — and Obama’s marriage shift could put Wisconsin in play for Romney too.

#5 — A majority of African American voters are against gay marriage, but will Obama’s support for this issue reduce turnout in the black community in November? ( I doubt it)
#6 — And what about Hispanics? President Obama was counting on their vote in the Southwest, specifically in Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. But many Hispanics are Catholic and culturally conservative. Could this issue somehow tamp down turnout for the president in those key states?

#7 —Six of Obama’s top bundlers come from the gay community. Will this increase their pull in the campaign? And will it open up more contributions, especially in the Obama aligned Super PACS which have been lagging in fundraising compared to the Republican aligned Super PACS?
# 8 —Voters tend to punish whichever candidate seems to be putting the issue of same-sex marriage front and center in a political campaign.  By November will it still be front and center?  If so, will voters blame Obama for his switch — or buy his argument that Romney made it a national issue by supporting a Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages everywhere?

# 9 — The President told Robin that he wants to leave the question of same sex marriage to the states for now. But will he face pressure to have the Justice Department join litigation seeking to strike down state bans?  That could be the next front in this war.

Those are my nine questions. Let me know yours.  I’d love to hear some of your answers too.

Read More: Yahoo News

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