Podcast: Republican Candidates Do Not Resonate With Latinos

In this podcast, Fi2W Executive Producer John Rudolph speaks with La Opinión senior political writer and columnist Pilar Marrero about the first poll measuring how Latino voters are responding to the GOP presidential field. Listen:

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LOS ANGELES, CA.—Although Latino voters have expressed some disappointment with President Obama in the last few months, none of the Republican presidential candidates has been able to captivate or attract the attention of Latinos until now. In other words, for the time being, among the eight candidates, there is no one equivalent to George W. Bush who would attract a significant percentage of the Latino vote.

The new impreMedia/Latino Decisions (IM-LD) poll, cosponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, revealed these results. It also showed these voters are very unfamiliar with the Republican candidates and do not have a favorable image of those candidates they know about.

“Republicans have a great challenge ahead when it comes to the Latino vote,” said Matt Barreto, a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle and an advisor for Latino Decisions. “This poll shows they must conduct an intensive campaign if they want to attract part of the Latino vote, since for now, the majority of these voters don’t even know them.”

Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are among the best known candidates in the group of eight; despite this, 46% have no opinion or have never heard of Romney, and 40% have never heard of Perry.  Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and apparent favorite to clinch the nomination, is favored by 28% of Latino voters, while 25% have an unfavorable impression of him. The rest do not know who he is or have no opinion. Perry, who as governor of Texas would be the closest to Latinos in the Republican primaries, is someone few of the country’s Latino voters know: 40% of them have no idea who he is. Likewise, his approval level is abysmal and still lower than Romney’s at 22%. His level of disapproval is higher: 39%.

In Texas, a state he has governed for 11 years, Perry has a 37% approval rate from Latinos, a number similar to the one he obtained in his latest re-election in November 2010, when he received 38% of the Texas Latino vote. However, in that state, 49% of Latino voters disapprove of Perry. A majority of analysts has said Republicans should aspire to 40% of the national Latino vote to be able to win certain key states.

For the rest of this article, go to Latino Decisions

Fi2W podcasts are supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Mertz Gilmore Foundation and the Sirus Fund, and are produced in association with the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and WNYC , New York Public Radio.