In a new Quinnipiac poll, in which nine percent of the respondents were Hispanic registered voters, fifty-nine percent of those Latinos polled said they would vote for Barack Obama and 30 percent said they would vote for Mitt Romney. This is a slightly lower number for Obama and a higher number for Romney among Latinos than previous polls. A late June NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll of Latino voters found 26 percent of Latinos favored Romney. The sample of Latinos in this new poll, however, is smaller than other polls; out of 2,722 registered voters, 143 were Latino. This makes the margin of error around 8 percent, which means that Romney’s approval rating among this group could be between 22 and 38 percent, according to University of Washington political scientist Matt Barreto. Also, says University of New Mexico political scientist Gabriel Sánchez, a small sample tends to have less coverage of the sources of variation of the Latino electorate such as region, national origin and language.
“When we are trying to read Latino preferences within a national poll, it is often the case that the Latino sample skews way too English-dominant and under-represents immigrants and Spanish-language speakers, and with a small sample, it carries a huge margin of error,” explains Barreto.
Of the Latinos interviewed in the Quinnipiac poll, 29 percent said they were more enthusiastic about this presidential election than previous ones, 17 percent said they were less enthusiastic, and 50 percent said they were about the same.
Sixty percent of these Hispanic voters said President Obama deserves to be re-elected, and 37 percent said he did not. Just over half – 51 percent – of Hispanics approved of Obama’s handling of the economy, and 45 percent disapproved.
When it came to likability, 87 percent of Hispanics thought President Obama was likable and 10 percent did not. Sixty percent of Latinos thought Mitt Romney was likable and 33 percent did not.
On the issue of undocumented immigration, 48 percent of Latinos approved of the way the President was handling the issue and 42 percent disapproved; 11 percent said they did not know or it was not applicable. On health care, President Obama got a 54 percent approval from the Latinos polled and 41 percent disapproval.
When asked about the political parties, 46 percent of Latinos thought unfavorably of the Republican party, 24 percent thought favorably and 25 percent had not heard enough about them. As per the Democrats, 32 percent of Hispanics said unfavorable, 45 percent had a favorable opinion and 19 percent said they had not heard enough.
When asked which candidate would do a better job “for your personal economic future,” regardless of voting preference, 51 percent of Latinos said Obama, 37 percent said Romney, and 12 percent said they did not know or it wasn’t applicable. Finally, when asked which candidate would do a better job on healthcare, 52 percent of Hispanics said Obama and 31 percent Romney.
Gabriel Sánchez says the numbers do not sound that far off from other polls on Latinos, but it is still worth noting this sample was smaller and less representative.