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GOP in trouble with Latino voters
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A national poll released Monday showed 73 percent of Latino voters view the Republican Party as either ignoring or being outright hostile to them — an illustration of the difficulties the GOP has heading into the 2012 election.

But the ImpreMedia/Latino Decisions poll didn't stop there with bad news for the GOP.

According to the survey of 500 registered Latino voters, only 9 percent said they were certain they would vote for a Republican presidential candidate while 43 percent were certain they would vote for President Barack Obama.

Matt Barreto, a researcher for Latino Decisions, said if those numbers hold steady, the chances of Republicans unseating Obama seem unlikely.

"The Republicans will need to change those numbers around if they want to make any inroads in 2012," Barreto said.

In 2008, Obama captured 67 percent of the Latino vote compared to 31 percent for Republican Sen. John McCain. When Obama swept into the White House, the Latino vote in key swing states of Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Florida was considered critical to his victory.

Ryan Call, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, said he knows the party has its work cut out for it. He has already started a broad outreach to the Latino community in the state.

"The Colorado Republican Party is investing in resources — many more than in past years — to court and reach out to the Latino vote and Latinos in our community to win their votes," Call said. "It's very important because without a great percentage of the Hispanic vote, Republicans will have a hard time winning Colorado as well as other swing states."

In 2008, Obama won Colorado 55 percent to 44 percent. But in heavily Latino Pueblo County, Obama beat McCain by about 15 percentage points.

The Latino Decisions' tracking poll also for the first time measured attitudes toward religion and politics.

Gabe Sanchez, director of research for Latino Decisions, said overall the survey found 53 percent of Latinos said they don't let religion influence their political choices despite that they are an overwhelmingly religious group.

The survey showed 60 percent said their faith guides them on day-to-day matters "quite a bit" or "a great deal." And for the first time — given the presence of two Mormons seeking the GOP presidential nod — the survey asked Latinos their view on the LDS faith.

"Latinos reject mixing religion and politics," Sanchez said. "Very few Latinos will be voting on moral issues in 2012."

Inside the polling data, 58 percent were unable to identify Romney as a Mormon, and 48 percent said they also didn't know what faith President Barack Obama was either.

Sanchez said the findings track with the poll's overall conclusions: A candidate's faith doesn't matter to Latinos.

"The economy, jobs and immigration are most important to them," Sanchez said. "These issues will be the driving issues for Latino voters in 2012."

The survey was conducted across 21 states that comprise 95 percent of the Latino electorate and it has a margin of error of plus of minus 4.3 percent. Interviews were conducted in the language of preference — with 40 percent of those participating in the poll doing the survey in Spanish.

dmontero@sltrib.comTwitter: @davemontero —

Online

O View the poll: http://latinodecisions.wordpress.com/

Poll • Just 9% would vote for a Republican presidential nominee.
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