August 15, 2012
By Alexander Burns
Mitt Romney's campaign released its latest Spanish-language ad this morning, amplifying on the familiar theme that Barack Obama and Democrats have failed on the economy and let down the Latino community.
The commercial doesn't include a reference to Romney's new running mate, Paul Ryan, and Emily and I write on the homepage about the ground Romney seems to be surrendering among Latinos with that pick:
Obama’s lead over Romney among Hispanic voters in national polling hovers around and even above the 40 percent mark. Last month, a Latino Decisions survey showed Obama touching 70 percent of the vote and leading by 48 points. An NBC/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll conducted in late July found Obama taking 67 percent of Latinos to Romney’s 23 percent. The POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll published Monday placed that lead at 62 percent to 26 percent.
In other words, Obama’s commanding lead has not diminished and may be cemented in place. Univision anchor Jorge Ramos framed the Republican dilemma in a tweet after Ryan was announced as Romney’s ticket mate: “How can [Paul Ryan] attract the Hispanic vote? If Republicans don’t get a third of the Latino vote they won’t get the White House back.”
The selection of a vice president could have been an opportunity to shake up the state of the race among Latino voters, but few in either party think Ryan is a running mate who will accomplish that goal.
Ryan has the potential to be an appealing figure for some of the culturally conservative, family- and business-oriented sectors of the electorate, including Latinos. He’s a young, Catholic family man who’s as free market as they come.
He’s also a member of a Republican Congress that many Latinos view as a hostile entity. Latino Decisions found that by a 51-point margin, Latinos oppose cuts to Medicare — an even wider margin than the electorate at large, according to some polls. A footnote to his career that could harm him with Cuban-Americans in particular: In 2009, Ryan expressed skepticism about the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, though he has since revised that stance.
Alfonso Aguilar, a former Bush administration official and talk-radio host who heads the conservative group American Principles, said Ryan brings no immediate upside for Romney with the Latino community.
“This is a candidate that I think you can sell and I think he can be exciting,” Aguilar said. “But he doesn’t bring anything in particular, like Marco Rubio would. … Having said that, I do believe he’s somebody who can engage Latinos on social issues, on the issue of entitlement reform.” …
“He’s still someone that has to be introduced to the Hispanic community and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It gives us the opportunity to introduce all of the important pieces of legislation and policy areas where he’s been a leader,” [Florida Rep. David Rivera] said. “I would hope they would have an open mind with respect to the policies that Paul Ryan has promoted during his time in Congress with respect to the budget and the economy and job creation.”