Not the only interesting result here — Gallup’s also picking up the trend of millennials abandoning The One — but after so much post-election heavy breathing about his advantage with Latinos and how the GOP can win them back, it’s obviously the showstopper.
Second look at congressional gridlock on immigration reform?
The glass-half-full read: This is proof positive that Democrats do not, in fact, own the Latino vote. They can blow it, and to some extent may already have. But then, we already knew that from previous Gallup polls. Back in August, they noted that O’s job approval among Latinos was conspicuously volatile, soaring to 80 percent at one point in the first four and a half years of his presidency and dropping to 49 percent at another. If the first two months of ObamaCare could push him nearly underwater with Latinos, what will another year of rate shock and shrinking provider networks do? Without lifting a finger, the GOP may be back in play for this demographic — not so much that they’d win it outright, but enough that they could close the gap to, say 15-20 points instead of 40-45. In a tight election, that would be ruinous for Democrats.
The glass-half-empty read: The guy’s entire year has been one policy fartburger after another — a failed gun-control push, phantom red lines on Syria and Iran, the ObamaCare disaster, and of course nothing whatsoever accomplished on immigration — and he’s still above 50 percent with Latinos. Exactly how much has to go wrong to shake their confidence in him? Job approval isn’t even a binary metric, where people are forced to choose between O or the GOP. It’s a pure referendum on Obama and he’s still above water in spite of everything. There’s no reason to think they wouldn’t still prefer him 70/30 to a random Republican. Don’t forget either that ObamaCare, in the abstract, is popular with Latinos. It’s way more likely that the recent downturn is due not to some ideological sea change within the demographic about what government’s capable of but rather dissatisfaction over Glitchapalooza and O’s failure to deliver what he promised. Between that and amnesty, that’s the story of 2013 vis-a-vis Latino voters: The man simply can’t deliver. What happens in 2016 when Democrats shed his baggage and nominate someone as popular with Latinos as Hillary Clinton, who’ll doubtless promise to reform ObamaCare so that it “works”?
As for the great immigration reform debate, you can — and will — read this, of course, to align with your personal preference. If you’re pro-amnesty, then this poll shows that the GOP has a new window of opportunity to impress Latino voters. Seize the momentum by pushing through comprehensive immigration reform now. You’ll show them that you’re serious about their votes at a moment when Obama’s at his weakest. If you’re anti-amnesty, then this poll shows that you don’t need to pass reform in order to have an opening with Latinos. The ObamaCare clusterfark has done it for you. If anything, Latinos might be punishing Obama for the gridlock in Congress over immigration, in which case the GOP has every incentive to keep it going. Focus on bread-and-butter issues like better health-care reform and economic growth and Latinos, like any other part of the electorate, will take a renewed interest in the GOP. Which approach, do you suppose, does John Boehner endorse?
Think about that while you watch this guy, Democrat Jared Polis, freak out on the House floor.