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April 17, 2014

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election 2012:

The racial divide in Obama’s, Romney’s efforts to woo voters

The demographic battle lines of the 2012 campaign are rapidly solidifying as Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama gear up for a campaign defined by significant gaps between the candidates in voters’ race, gender and age.

A trickle of recent swing-state surveys confirms a racial divide that’s been on vivid display in national polling: Obama has failed to gain new traction with white voters while Romney has either stalled out or lost ground with Latinos and other non-white voting groups.

That pattern is only likely to intensify after Obama’s decision to allow some children of illegal immigrants to stay in the country. Romney criticized it for being a stop-gap measure but has not said whether he would maintain that policy as president.

It’s not only race that divides the two candidates: The generational and gender gaps that have characterized both the Obama and Romney coalitions haven’t budged. The racial gap may be the most striking, given the rapidly growing Hispanic population and the relative decline of the white vote share.

A Quinnipiac University poll of Florida voters last week threw the divisions into relief. In the poll, Romney won voters over 55, white voters and men. All other demographic groups broke for the president: women, black and Latino voters, and voters 54 and younger.

The survey gave Obama a 4-point lead against Romney overall, 46 to 42 percent.

Romney addressed the National Association of Latino Elected Officials in Orlando on Thursday, giving his lengthiest sales pitch in months to Latino voters and outlining his views on immigration in greater depth.

Beyond a handful of details — he wants to allocate green cards to keep families together and make it easier for veterans to become citizens — Romney hewed closely to a vague promise of a “long-term solution” on immigration.

“Unfortunately, despite his promises, President Obama has failed to address immigration reform,” Romney declared in prepared remarks, saying this of Obama’s new deportation policy: “Some people have asked if I will let stand the president’s executive action. The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president’s temporary measure.”

Republicans hope to regain some ground among Latinos with the same narrowly focused economic message Romney has been deploying across the country.

Before the group on Friday, President Barack Obama bashed Republicans for blocking immigration reform.

One week after announcing he would stop deporting many young undocumented immigrants, Obama said that change is just the beginning of his work on immigration and called on Congress to find a permanent, bipartisan solution to fix the broken immigration system.

“We should have passed the Dream Act a long time ago; it was written by members of both parties,” Obama said. “The bill hadn’t changed. The need hadn’t changed,” Obama said. “The only thing that had changed was politics. And I refused to keep looking young people in the eye, deserving young people in the eye and tell them, ‘Tough luck, the politics is too hard.’ ”

But Thursday’s Quinnipiac survey is significant not just because of what it says about the Florida race — polls there have seesawed in recent weeks between Obama and Romney — but also that it mirrors the dynamics of the national race. In many places, Romney appears to have locked in a lead with white voters and Obama continues to hold an overwhelming advantage with non-whites.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll of Latino voters found at the end of May that Obama had a 34-point national lead over Romney, and the president has consistently outperformed Romney with women and younger voters. At the same time, Gallup found this month what it called “cracks” in Obama’s white support: a decrease of 6 points in white support since the 2008 campaign.

The race gap is especially crucial in states such as Nevada and Colorado — relatively new swing states where the president’s dominance among Latino voters has made it difficult for Romney to break through.

The Democratic automated-polling firm Public Policy Polling conducted recent surveys in both states, finding that Obama’s lead over Romney has diminished but that his strong support among non-whites is keeping him ahead.

“What we’re seeing in most of our polls is that Obama’s doing about as well as he did with blacks and Hispanics as in 2008 and that they’re likely to comprise a similar share of the electorate,” PPP’s Tom Jensen said in an email. “That means for Romney to win he needs to take white voters by 10 points more than John McCain did in 2008. Right now he’s nowhere close to doing that.”

Jensen suggested that there’s still room for Romney to move up among white voters who are “open to voting against Obama, but they’re not really sold on Romney.”

“I think the climate’s right for Romney to get where he needs to be with white voters. He just still has a lot of work to do to convince folks unhappy with Obama that he would indeed be a better choice,” he said.

A Republican strategist familiar with 2012 polling said Romney’s demographic limits are clear but that there’s still plenty of room for an electoral majority within those parameters.

“I don’t recall any non-white, non-old, non-men demographic he’s doing great with. Then again, white people are most of the electorate, and men are nearly half and old people are 20 percent,” the Republican said.

The Colorado and Nevada demographic breakdowns are, if anything, even starker than Florida’s. In Nevada, PPP found Obama ahead of Romney by 6 points overall, despite losing white voters and men by 4 percent, and trailing among voters over 65 by 14 percent.

Obama was winning Hispanics in Nevada by 13 percent, blacks by 40 percent, women by 13 percent and all age groups under 65.

In Colorado, the race was essentially tied among men and whites while Romney continued to hold a strong, 14-point lead among senior citizens. Obama was ahead among Hispanics by 27 points, women by 14 points and all other age groups, adding up to a 7-point lead overall.

None of that means that Romney can’t win those states, or for that matter, assemble a winning collection of swing states where Latinos and blacks are less influential.

It does mean, however, that for every incremental increase in Obama’s young, non-white and female support, Romney needs to expand his support among whites, men and seniors correspondingly — or find a way to make inroads into Obama’s gains.

And the path to victory with a white-heavy base is smaller than it once was. Republican strategist Mike Murphy tweeted Wednesday that if Obama wins Colorado, Nevada and less-diverse New Hampshire, and Romney wins Ohio, Virginia, Florida and North Carolina, the two candidates will be tied at 266 electoral votes, with Iowa and its seven electoral votes as the tiebreaker.

Thanks to the stagnant economy, Romney may well be able to thread that electoral needle — in fact, many Republicans are increasingly optimistic that he’ll be able to do just that.

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  1. Of course our president and his Obamnisty camgaign is going to get the minority vote........he unlocked the doors to the country and threw away the key. That is about the only vote left to shoot for. He screwed the middle class with his administrations soft approach to the financial crisis, he has put the citizenry of the SW in peril by continuing to supply weapons to the Mexican Drug cartels, and he tried to wreck the country with Obamacare............all to satisfy the 1%ers.

  2. The "racial divide" is actually a philosophical one. Historically, Cuban-American have been conservatives; they naturally side with Romney. Their families were well-educated and left the socialist state with distaste for "big government." Mexican immigrants, on the other hand, have tended to approve of government-assistance programs; they often side with the more liberal candidates. Both groups are racially "white" (as reckoned by the US census) and Spanish-speaking, but their philosophies of government differ.
    Also, residents of urban counties historically favor government programs and assistance; these areas are predominantly liberal. Many African-Americans today grew up in urban, often poor, areas. On the other hand, rural residents favor independence over government assistance and tend to be more conservative. The backgrounds of rural people differ greatly from those of urban citizens. Political outlooks may change, as the 2010 census reported that many African-Americans are leaving the large cities.
    Should we depend on government for help? Or is government more the problem than the solution?
    To say that Obama wins among "Latinos" (most of whom are not Cubans but ARE liberals) is to say that he wins among liberals. Similarly, Romney wins among members of typically conservative groups. This is no surprise.
    Obama will not win over conservatives, and we should not expect that Romney will persuade many liberals to vote Republican.

  3. The Left is both the accuser and the protagonist of the racial divide in America. Without the sanctimonious and hypocritical Left, racism in America would be a minute issue. That being said, there must be no doubt that immigration will draw the hispanic vote to Obama, and the blacks will overwhelmingly side with Obama also. That is a foregone conclusion. Romney has his work cut out for him, and I hope he pulls it off. I do not believe that the results will budge much regardless of Romney's running mate.

  4. Rasmussen Poll has Obama across the board below 39% with all "white voters."
    Whites voted 60+% in 2010 Republican..
    The pc liberal response is to shout,"racist." There is nothing like repeated insult to attract friends and influence people to vote for you.
    That said..I find identity politics repulsive..and pandering to identity groups dangerous, divisive and dumb!

  5. Gee, I'm female, mixed race and NOT voting for Mr. O. And I suspect the President's recent decision to prefer 800,000 illegals over American job seekers will COST VOTES, not help re-election. What with 3/4 of Americans want them all out of here and the articles notation that others such as those of Cuban descent don't care much about more illegals coming in from elsewhere....This is negative action for the incumbent. And this illegal action to not enforce federal law makes it even more difficult for this administration to "work with" Congress for any other solution.

  6. JahReb
    I study issues carefully. I read many sources and I have my own opinions.
    I am not entertained or amused when I tune into MSNBC and hear the commentator stating that "Republicans don't care about dead Mexicans so the investigation into Fast and Furious is "racially motivated.
    Somehow the logic escapes me..and the democrat/liberals cannot convince me of anything by these specious argumentsand scuriolous accusations except that they are either kidding or they are mental cases. I have since found out that I haven't been a "true follower" long enough to know that Fast and Furious .."Bush did it." I tuned in at the tag end of an old and not very funny joke
    I was interested in illegal immigration..strictly from the point of numbers..population and it is Illegal..The Federal government's policies are..odd to say the least..I have the curiosity of a cat..but I tuned into CNN one day to learn that I was a "racist bigot"
    No..the liberals lost me..except when I need a chuckle..I tune into Left Looney Toons

  7. @Frank Daniels- Thank you for your well written comment of facts. It is refreshing to read in the comment section.

    As for the rest of you, you are moving me more and more toward the Obama camp. Your opinions are incredible and vitriolic. You make me want to vote against you. Good job!

  8. peacelilly:
    The comments section is opinion.
    I am not decided who I will vote for butI will study each issue, each candidate's position on the issue ..and I will vote for the candidate that I believe will be best for America and Americans..
    I would ask that you do the same..and not put weight on my opinions or anyone elses for that matter

  9. peacelilly
    What I mean is..No matter what I say..I am not running for office..It is chitchat..but when it comes time to vote..I will know what the candidates have said and done and it will matter very very much..and I won't remember or give weight to any opinion I have read on any board..

  10. AND
    That goes for news channels, commentators and other sources of news..
    I listen to Rush Limbaugh..BUT I read Obama's speeches..and I base my opnion on Obama's words, not on Rush's
    I listen to MSNBC but if the commentator makes dumb comments about Republicans..I read Romney's speeches and Issa's trancripts to decide for myself
    Nuff said..but if that is "racist" I can only wish we all were

  11. @M. Malone- I refer to the type of language used by some who comment. I can't stand the nasty and false statements, no matter what partisan position one holds. So much extremism.

    It is cowardly, and destructive to our nation.

    Opinions reflect the people who make them.

    If people think they are influencing others to vote for their candidate, they are not. I will vote, and what I will remember are the quality of comments that reflect the supporters of their candidates.

    My reading is not limited to brainwashing blather of candidates or parties. That only gives me the jumping off point to get facts, and more details from a wide spectrum of views.

    I don't watch network news at all, nor listen to people like Rush Limbaugh. He is like some of the comments I read here that are sickening.

    I prefer to read scholarly professionals in their specialties & in areas of concern, and more than one. I also read newspapers, including credible international newspapers & magazines, so I can get more information on a variety of issues, other than the very brief and edited sound bites on TV.

    I also want to avoid the campaign commercials which I consider trash. Polls, robocalls & surveys receive and immediate hangup, and paper ads go in the trash. There are plenty of ways to get the facts ongoing, not just during campaigns.

    The problem I am finding is that the partisan positions are so absolute, that there is no room for any cooperation, working together for the common good. It is all just my way or the highway. How childish that is.

    I have been both a Republican and a Democrat, and now I am sick of both. However, I will vote for sure.

    I want to see a balanced system with our government representing and working for all people. Right now, we have a corrupt, dysfunctional, sick, perverted system, and the partisan drones reflect that as well.

    Just for your information, I don't think there is much difference between the two parties. Approaches may seem different, but the reality is the same in the end. It is who will lead us into destruction faster. Both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for the problems we are in today. Forty years+ of facts reveal the reality.

    Both parties are failures as representatives of the people. They both work for the money and power that elects them. Politicians and parties are nothing more than their minions.

    Just my opinion.

  12. PeaceLilly:
    I will second your opinion:
    "Just for your information, I don't think there is much difference between the two parties. Approaches may seem different, but the reality is the same in the end. It is who will lead us into destruction faster. Both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for the problems we are in today. Forty years+ of facts reveal the reality"

  13. Peace Lilly:
    That Said:
    I will state..on topic ..that one of the most destructive trends in politics is division by race gender age..what is known as identity politics..and pandering... The politicians/news/commentators that decry "racism" in one group encourage racial identity and motivation in another
    Balkanization is a recipe for disaster..
    Just my opinion

  14. @M.Malone There is no getting around the fact that there is still "racism" in the United States, and not only in the US.

    As long as "race" is used to separate people, security and economic status, it will not end. It is a manifestation of fear.

    Researchers have found that prejudices occur based on the shade of a person's skin, even within races worldwide.

    It seems a pitiful defect in the human race as a whole.

    It shows up in Opinion comments often under the familiar term of "racism", even though that isn't entirely correct. People don't even know they are prejudiced.

    With Obama's policy decision about undocumented immigrants, I am not going to be surprised if Romney selects Rubio for his VP running mate. That's the game!

    However, it isn't only race. It is religion too, but that is another issue. It's a snake pit too.

    There is a plethora of divisions, and everything is a "special interest", a term used by politicians to manipulate for votes, just as they did with "for your children and grandchildren". People were and are still manipulated by them.

    The efforts to manipulate for power are endless, appealing to people's prejudices, no matter what they are, just gets worse.

    We are a society in a moral crisis across the board. The level of fear is so great that more and more people are becoming adrenalin junkies.

  15. @M.Malone - Yes, there certainly is gender and age discrimination, and it is apparent all over the place, including the opinions expressed in the Opinion section.

    I am equally sickened by what I read that shows how these area are so prevalent and getting worse.

    Another sign of the decline of the U.S. and the moral crisis that exists.

  16. We need to just do what's right for the US at the polls in November and forget the racial divide efforts. They can't last four more years. It's more import for the US to last four more years.
    There is only one thing to keep in mind, Mr. Obama has done none of the things that caused us to vote for him in the first place. He is a great orator but has no executive management experience. We should have realized that being the president is not the place for on the job training.

  17. @rusty57- This is standard Secret Service procedure for the President attending large meal functions where the individuals attending are not known.

    Since 911, I'm sure there have been many increased security procedures put in place by the Secret Service during both the Bush and Obama Presidencies.

    When the attendees are known, it is not so critical, and the Secret Service adjusts their security measures accordingly.

    Given it is an election year, with many divisions and apparent hatreds, in addition to ongoing terrorist threats, I am not surprised at the increased security.

    The geography of Florida being on the coast, some attitudes, and some of the laws make it more open to infiltration by people with nefarious intent. I bet state officials would prefer that than going down in history as where a President was assassinated.

    Seems to be expected to me for both Bush, Obama, and any other President dealing with such circumstances.

    I don't see any reason to blame any President for the actions of the Secret Service. They know a whole lot more about Presidential security needs than most citizens do. I don't want to see any President assassinated.