Obama Ineffective at Communicating with Latinos, Expert Says

Enthusiasm for President Barack Obama has waned among Latinos because the president has had problems communicating with them, but this current lack of excitement might not matter when it comes time to vote in the 2012 presidential contest, according to prominent pollster Gary Segura of the firm Latino Decisions.

On November 29, Segura spoke to reporters who questioned him about how Latinos are likely to vote in 2012. Based on poll results and other information he has gathered for Latino Decisions, Segura said one problem facing President Obama is that Latinos aren’t aware of immigrant-friendly policies he’s enacted, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Segura pointed to Obama’s challenge of Arizona’s strict immigration law, SB 1070, and his move to reprioritize deportations to focus on cases involving criminals, saying that many Latinos do not seem to know he has done these things, according to the L.A. Times. Calling Latinos a “core constituency” for the president, Segura said it is striking that Obama has been so ineffectual at communicating with this group.

Still, Segura asserted Obama will likely appeal to Latino voters when it comes down to a choice between the president and a specific GOP challenger, given the hard-line rhetoric the Republican candidates have used in the primary campaign.

The L.A. Times reported that another participant in the press conference, America’s Voice founder Frank Sharry, said Obama would “rock and roll the Latino vote” in a general election if pitted against former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Efren Perez, an associate professor at Vanderbilt University, has a different opinion of Romney’s appeal to Latino voters. Speaking to the Research News at Vanderbilt website recently, Perez said Romney might be the Republican best able to win over Latinos. He said Romney could convincingly craft an argument that his position on immigration reform is simply consistent with a capitalist philosophy that the market should determine acceptable levels of immigration.