Obama Struggles to Maintain High Approval Among Key Demographics


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Will Hispanics vote for Romney? Image by Alex Lee

Is Romney Benefiting from Approval Rating Changes Among Hispanics?

Assuming that Mitt Romney is the 2012 Republican nominee, he may be eager to win over the Hispanics  whose support for Obama may be wavering. Two polls of Latino voters conducted by Fox News Latino suggest that Romney may have his work cut out for him in securing votes, since 70 percent of respondents planned to vote for Obama in November, and 14 percent planned to vote for Romney. The second poll, conducted in January, 2012, has Obama winning 68 percent approval among respondents, with Romney garnering 28 percent approval. Speculation that Romney may select a Hispanic running mate could boost his popularity with this demographic. It is also possible that Hispanics who are not impressed by Obama or Romney may simply stay home in November.

Could Low-Income Americans be Romney’s Ticket to Victory?

Low-income voters seem to be less predictable in their support for Romney. Many low-income voters hold conservative beliefs regarding social issues, according to the Washington Post. Now that Rick Santorum, previously seen as the “social conservative” candidate, is out of the race, Romney may be able to pick up support in this demographic if he takes a more vocal stance on issues such as abortion and gay marriage.  The economy will likely be the most important issue in November, and large shifts of support from Obama to Romney are unlikely if the economy continues to show signs of improvement, especially since those in the demographic who are conservative on social issues likely did not originally support Obama.

It’s All About the Turnout

If Obama’s base loses Hispanic and low-income members, he will struggle to boost his nationwide approval rating to 50 percent or higher. How this will translate to the general election remains unknown. On one hand, no modern President has won re-election with approval ratings below 49 percent in March. On the other hand, if Romney fails to win over some voters who at one point supported Obama, he will be at a disadvantage, since Obama won the 2008 election in a landslide victory.


Gallup. Obama’s Monthly Approval Edges Higher In March. Accessed April 11, 2012.

LJWorld. Romney Lacks Hispanic Support. Accessed April 11, 2012.

Washington Post. The Roots of Romney’s Low-Income Problem. Accessed April 11, 2012.

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