Latino voters’ interest in the election has begun to rise, but still lags behind the levels of four years ago, according to a new survey which offers mixed news for President Obama’s reelection campaign.
Latinos, who are expected to be a critical vote in the November election, have much more favorable views of Obama than of Republican challenger Mitt Romney. By large majorities, they say they identify with Obama’s background and values, according to the latest NBC/Telemundo-Wall Street Journal poll. Asked which candidate they would vote for if the election were held now, Latinos sided with Obama 67% to 23%.
But by comparison with the rest of the electorate, their interest in the election — an indicator of whether a person is likely to vote — is significantly lower. Asked to rate their interest on a 10-point scale, 49% of Latino voters put themselves in the top category. That’s up six points from last month, but still considerably below the 59% who reported that level of interest four years ago. It’s also significantly lower than the 62% of the overall electorate who put themselves in that category in the last NBC-Journal poll.
A quarter of the Latinos surveyed said they did not vote in 2008, and almost half said they did not vote in the 2010 midterm election. For the overall electorate, 12% said they did not vote in 2008 and about one-third said they did not vote in 2010.