For years, political analysts have predicted that Latino voters will determine who wins the White House, and this election is no different. So what should we expect Tuesday?
At least one poll suggests that President Obama will score big with Latinos, capturing a record percentage of that powerful voting bloc (Latinos make up about 10% of the electorate). A poll released Monday by Latino Decision and impreMedia found that 73% of likely Latino voters said they plan to cast their ballots for Obama, with 24% favoring former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and 3% undecided. If those numbers continue to track, Obama is looking at a historic showing, surpassing the 72% of Latino voters who went for President Clinton in 1996. The polling firm is a nonpartisan group that focuses on Latinos.
So what’s driving the numbers? Latino Decision’s Gary Segura and Matt Barreto suggest it’s Romney’s hard shift to the right on key issues, ranging from immigration to the economy, that has Latinos running from the GOP and toward the Democrats.
That seems like a fair guess. Let's not forget that during the GOP primary debates, Romney carved out a pretty tough position on immigration and introduced Americans to the term “self-deportation." Romney later clarified his oft-misunderstood statement, saying that "we're not going to round up 12 million people, undocumented illegals, and take them out of the nation. Instead, let people make their own choice. And if they -- if they find that -- that they can't get the benefits here that they want and they can't -- and they can't find the job they want, then they'll make a decision to go to a place where -- where they have better opportunities."