Critics suggest that Mitt Romney’s gap with Latino voters might get wider with a leaked video.
A secret video released Monday by Mother Jones reveals remarks Romney made during a fundraiser. In the video, he was taped as exclaiming that there are “47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.” He goes on to note that they believe they’re entitled to extensive government support and pay no income tax.
It seems that under the same video, Romney also made the claim that he would have a better chance to win if he were Latino.
“My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico…and had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot of winning this,” Romney was quoted as saying.
The remark has already been thrown under fire by several Latino advocates. It’s still not known whether these remarks are having any effect on the polls, but some analysts believe his appeal to Latinos is getting worse.
“Wow—that is really kind of a racial statement,” said Gary Segura, a political science professor and research analyst of Latino Decisions, while referring to Romney’s remarks on Mexican roots.
Segura further explained that his general statements were no less encouraging. “You want to talk about the 47 percent and the lower end of the income distribution that’s most Latinos,” he said.
Some say it’s going to be a hard sell for him to get anywhere near the 38 percent of the Latino vote he needs to win.
A Latino Decisions tracking poll released today shows that Obama gained three more points, rising to 68 percent support compared with Romney’s 26 percent among Latinos. The poll was conducted after the conventions.
The video was released on the same day Romney made his remarks at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Romney said he is committed to working with both parties in pursuing “permanent immigration reform.” As reported earlier in VOXXI, he also accused President Barack Obama of “playing politics” by introducing temporary measures exempting from deportation immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
“The other news of the day got completely lost, once the video came out,” said Segura. “Ostensibly, he re-launches his relationship to Latinos.”
Not everyone believes Romney’s statements were particularly revealing. These same statements that “policy entitlements lead to cultural dependency” were made previously in an otherwise different context.
“Frankly, that’s the campaign that Obama is running,” said Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles.
“It’s hypocritical for Democrats to attack him (Romney) because that’s the campaign that they’re running scaring seniors and low-income people about entitlements,” he said.
The video also points to the broader problem echoed throughout this election in terms of class warfare.
Brent Wilkes, executive director of the League of Latin American Citizens, argued that the video sheds light on a broader undertone. Wilkes calls it a “troubling mindset” that shows Romney is farther away from many working class Latinos.
“Whose really dependent on who?” said Wilkes.
“The people who fall within the 47 percent that Romney was criticizing are the same folks who pick our food and build our homes, take care of our kids, mow our lawns and I think we’re dependent on them,” he said.
The same tracking poll indicates the enthusiasm gap among Latino voters also up ticked to 40 percent more favorable for Obama from 37 percent before the convention.
Segura said where Romney is going to have difficultly is among the undecided, independent voter, suburban white women, including Latina women because of his remarks. He has a 53-point disadvantage among Latina women.
The video was blown out of proportion, Aguilar countered.
“Latinos are not going to be offended by that,” said Aguilar. “It’s offensive that Democrats continue pandering to Latinos with entitlements.”
Full Mitt Romney fundraiser video part 1
Full Mitt Romney fundraiser video part 2