President Obama’s massive lead among Hispanic voters is holding steady, according to an NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Telemundo poll released Wednesday.
In the 2008 election, Obama took 67 percent to GOP nominee Sen. John McCain’s (Ariz.) 32. The Romney campaign told The Hill this week it needs to take 38 percent of the Hispanic vote to defeat President Obama.
According to the poll, Romney logged his worst favorability rating among
Hispanics to date, with 48 percent saying they have a negative view of him,
compared to 31 positive. Sixty-seven percent said they had a favorable
view of the president.
In 2004, President George W. Bush took 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. Earlier this year, Obama announced that his administration would stop deporting illegal immigrants who come to the country at a young age and meet certain requirements. The directive is particularly popular among Hispanics, with more than 90 percent of those surveyed saying they’re in favor of the policy change.
The president's directive has placed Republicans on the defensive, with Romney's campaign caught between Hispanic outreach efforts and large segments of the GOP base that regard the new policy as amnesty.
After Obama’s announcement, Romney offered support for easing deportations, but said he believed the decision could make it more difficult to achieve comprehensive immigration reform.
Romney also opposes the DREAM Act immigration reform proposal, which is overwhelmingly popular among Hispanics — 87 percent support it, according to the poll — and has praised Arizona’s controversial immigration law, the majority of which was struck down by the Supreme Court in June.
Still, the poll found Obama’s support among Hispanics is soft — only 61 percent said they were enthusiastic about the upcoming election, nearly 20 percentage points below the Hispanic enthusiasm level from 2008.
Even if Romney doesn’t hit his 38 percent target, Obama’s challenge will be to maximize turnout among this key constituency in what is lining up to be a tight election, especially in swing states such as Florida, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado that have large Hispanic populations.