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WASHINGTON – President Obama has built an overwhelming lead among Latino voters, a nationwide USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of Hispanics finds, as Republican challenger Mitt Romney faces a difficult path ahead to make inroads among what has been the nation’s fastest-growing ethnic group for a generation.
The president leads Romney 66%-25% among more than 1,000 Latino registered voters surveyed April 16 to May 31, matching his muscular showing in the 2008 election among Hispanics. Romney is in the weakest position among Latinos of any presidential contender since 1996 — and in those intervening 16 years their percentage of the electorate has doubled.
Romney’s concerning me here because his answer to this is to be “Obama-lite” and offer his own version of what Obama’s doing. It reminded me of the 1994 Senate debate when Mitt tried to out-Kennedy Ted Kennedy.
Romney is not going to win over the Latino vote, and in his futile attempts to do so he risks further alienating some of the Republican base with whom his political relationship is already tenuous at best. Mitt should avoid pandering and instead outline how the conservative approach is the best thing for all Americans and is fair to those Latinos, and immigrants in general, who took the time and did the paperwork to become legal US citizens. But maybe Romney doesn’t agree with the conservative approach.