It ain't looking good for the Mittster. Certainly not with Latinos. His personal best in the polls has him snagging barely 27 percent of the Hispanic vote. The worst -- well, it gets ugly. Then, just when he might have thought it couldn't get any worse, here comes another nail in his Latino support coffin.
A new USA Today/Gallup poll released this week shows that more than half of U.S. Hispanics call themselves political independents. That's more than there are Latino Democrats or Republicans -- put together.
The poll found that 51 percent of Hispanics in the country say they're independents, compared to only 32 percent who say they┐re Democrats and -- brace yourself! -- 11 percent who call themselves Republicans.
But that's not the worst part for Romney.
The worst part comes when you drill down.
When the poll's authors asked if folks leaned more toward siding with the Democrats or Republicans, 60 percent of Hispanic registered voters went with the Democrats. The GOP saw their numbers rise to 27 percent. But that left only 10 percent of independents saying they didn't lean one way or the other.
That's terrible for Romney.
Most strategists figure the Republicans have to get 40 percent of the Hispanic vote to beat Obama. According to this poll, even if he takes every one of the remaining 10 percent of the independent Latino votes, he still comes up short.
The bigger problem for him is, that's about the most positive any surveys have shown since Romney started running. He did a bang up job of alienating Hispanics during the primaries, when all the GOP candidates were jockeying for who could move furthest to the right on immigration issues.
It seems that no matter what he does, he can't get out of the basement. Not that he's trying all that hard. Obama's campaign has spent more than $2 million on Spanish-language advertising aimed at attracting Hispanic voters in key states, just since April. Romney has spent a little over $100,000.
And then Obama scored a trifecta of back-to-back victories in the past couple of weeks that each worked like double whammies on Romney. It started with his "stopgap" DREAM Act halting the deportation of some 800,000 young undocumented immigrants. Then came the two surprising Supreme Court rulings on Arizona's controversial immigration crackdown law and Obamacare.
All three not only boosted Obama's standing with Hispanics, they put Romney in rough corners. He couldn't really speak out against any of them without angering some of his supporters or coming off as a total hypocrite, or both.
So maybe Romney should just give up on the Hispanic vote. Maybe spending $100,000 on ads is $100,000 too much. It's clearly a token measure -- too little to make a difference, but enough to allow him to say he reached out to Latinos.
Continuing to dust off the broken record "broken promise" lie about the president's attempts to bring immigration reform doesn't seem to be getting any traction. Maybe by now more people than he would like realize that it was the Republicans who blocked immigration reform with a filibuster -- and that there was nothing the Democrats or the president could do to stop them.
Of course, polls are polls -- and votes are something entirely different. There's always the question of how many Hispanics will actually show up to vote on Election Day.
Latino turnout has always been among the lowest of any demographic group. And there are questions about how enthusiastic Hispanics are about voting in the coming election.
Some polls show Obama getting a nice boost from the "stopgap" DREAM Act move. But "enthusiasm" had been down just before that.
So how many will actually vote when it comes down to the wire?
We'll find out in November.
Source: Terra/Carlos Harrison