A NBC News/WSJ/Telemundo poll released at the end of May showed President Obama clobbering Mitt Romney among Latino voters 61 to 27 percent, with only 26 percent of Latinos in the same poll saying that they view Romney positively. Thirty-five percent said they viewed the former Massachusetts governor negatively. At the time the Obama campaign had already invested $1 million in Spanish-language media over five weeks, as oppose to $13,000 by the Romney campaign.
The Romney campaign has made the first steps in closing this gap, with a new web video released Monday directly challenging the reelection campaign's Spanish-language advertising that asserts with President Obama the country is on "the right path."
"Since Obama took office, unemployment for Hispanics is up," the commercial cuts to after airing a few seconds from Obama's ad claiming that the country is in the right direction now for Hispanic-Americans. "In the last month, Hispanic unemployment went from 10.3 percent to 11 percent."
Alexander Burns of POLITICO notes the advertisement is latest in Romney's approach across demographic groups: cast the economy as an issue that transcends political categories and that has the potential to bring wary Hispanics, women and other voters into the GOP fold. A Spanish-language version of the Web ad will also be released.
Romney has alienated some Hispanic-Americans with hardline stance against DREAM Act legislation, advocacy of increased border security, and suggestion of "self-deportation."
A CNN Money report released Tuesday examined Romney's conundrum in appealing to Hispanic entrepreneurs, many of which have historically voted GOP but find themselves concerned with some of the Republican nominee's positions.
"As small business owners, they like Romney's call for fewer regulations and lower taxes. But some are turned off by his embrace of hardline Republican Party views on illegal immigration.
Nearly all Hispanics are children of immigrants or newcomers themselves. Some, then, are uncomfortable with Romney's vow to complete the U.S.-Mexican border fence and opposition to amnesty for the estimated 11 million here illegally.
Polls show that President Obama, who has supported immigration reform and a path to citizenship for some people here illegally through the Dream Act, holds a steady lead with Hispanics overall.
Of course, the immigration issue is not always a deal breaker. "
Campaign attempts to appeal to Hispanic-Americans and polls measuring the group can often overlook the diverse and distinct political interests of different ethnics groups placed under the same umbrella. Hispanic-Americans who come to this country from say Mexico, Argentina and Cuba, may have come from very different backgrounds, and come into this country in very different ways. To paint their political interests all under the same "Hispanic vote" brush seems disingenuous and ineffective for campaign staff.