Florida's growing Hispanic community, which now constitutes nearly a quarter of the state's population, holds the key to victory in the upcoming GOP presidential primary and in the November election. A new survey from Resurgent Republic, the polling operation cofounded by former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, found that they have soured on President Barack Obama.
The survey of 500 registered Hispanic voters released Thursday shows that "President Obama continues to underperform among Florida Hispanic voters and has done little to bolster his standing." In fact, he's losing ground, polling 11 points below his 2008 performance on the presidential generic ballot, "which alone is enough to erase his three-point margin of victory over John McCain."
Why is Obama doing so poorly? Respondents in the survey identified weak leadership as one of their concerns, saying the president "has been a weaker leader than they expected" him to be by a margin of 56 percent to 35 percent. An astounding 60 percent said he has "not delivered" on the promises he made to them in the 2008 election while, by a margin of 42 percent to 38 percent, they believe he has "made things worse" for Florida's Hispanic community.
Perhaps the president's biggest problem is, that by more than two-to-one, Florida's Hispanic voters "believe things have gotten worse, not better" for them since Obama took office. Only 5 percent said things had improved while 40 percent said they have stayed about the same.
Interestingly the poll found that "the most recent citizens are the most pessimistic."
The survey said,
Voters who were not born in the U.S. say things have gotten worse rather than better by 43 to 16 percent, compared to a 31 to 12 percent margin among 1st generation immigrants, and a 26 to 9 percent margin among 2nd generation immigrants.
Speaking of immigration, the survey found somewhat surprisingly that it is not the No. 1 issue for most Hispanics. Only 13 percent cited it as their top issue while 32 percent ranked it in the top three. They did say they want to hear it talked about more, but most said they preferred a comprehensive strategy with "the top choice, among 58 percent of voters" being legislation that includes "border security, a temporary-worker program, and earned legal status for undocumented immigrants who are already here, because any solution to the immigration problem must deal with all of the problems with our immigration system."
Obama also gets low marks where federal spending and debt, the economy, and jobs are concerned with, by 60 to 27 percent, Florida Hispanics saying America is off on the wrong track rather than headed in the right direction. This level of pessimism, which is reflected if not amplified across other segments of the electorate, puts Florida in the toss-up column for the upcoming election.