Mitt Romney already suffers from a political gender gap among the general American population. And a new Latino Decisions Poll that shows the Latina gender gap is even wider. The gender gap among all Americans between President Obama and Mitt Romney is currently 16 points and stands at 55% of women supporting Obama versus 39% supporting Romney.
While this is bad news for the Republican candidate, the recent Latino Decisions Poll is even worse news. Latinas prefer President Obama by a whopping margin of 53 points—74% for President Obama to 21% for Governor Romney.
As a strategist, this number would certainly keep me up at night if I worked for Governor Romney. But as a Latina mother, I have to say, it’s no wonder he’s losing the Latina vote. What’s more, it seems the Romney campaign has made a cold political calculation that they can win the election without additional support of Latinos, and especially Latina moms. They can’t.
Today, Mitt Romney is speaking to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Nowhere in his speech does he touch upon why Latinas should support him over President Obama on issues such as Latina health, the DREAM Act, health care for our families, or education. Sure, he talks about entrepreneurship, and that is important in our community. But President Obama has offered Latina entrepreneurs up to 18 tax cuts to hire new employees and make our payrolls.
But the question that will go unanswered is why does Romney insist on repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act when this gives my family peace of mind on health care coverage? My kids can stay on my health care plan until they are 26; my mom can afford to buy her prescription drugs because there is no “donut hole” where seniors go without coverage for their medicine if they reach a certain amount, and overall it gives 9 million Latinos coverage that didn’t have it before. And importantly, I will still get to make decisions over what happens to my own body.
Governor Romney also will not offer a stance on the DREAM Act. Never mind we already know he would veto it if it got to his desk as President. But what would he do about the executive order President Obama signed, putting on hold the deportation of DREAM eligible students? Would he have these bright young leaders of tomorrow deported to a country they don’t know and don’t consider their own?
And what about education and the economy? Romney rightly talks about having to deal with debts and our deficit because it is a burden on our children. But what he doesn’t tell us is that the drastic cuts he and his running mate Paul Ryan are proposing in order to bring down that deficit will devastate the very educational and economic programs on which many Latina mothers depend: Pell Grants (which have given 150,000 Hispanic students the chance to go to college), Head Start (in which over a third of participants are Latino children), small business loans (there are more than 3 million small businesses started by Latinos(a)s—all will be cut—and for what? To give additional tax cuts to those who need them the least.
What the Republicans don’t seem to understand, in addition to the policy, is the rhetoric. When you are the party that injected the ugly term “anchor babies” into the American political psyche, don’t be surprised you will also be the party shunned by the very people that term denigrates. And who is supposedly having these “anchor babies?” Si, hermanas, you and me, and our Latina sisters all across the country.
Republicans also do not get that the majority of voters are looking at this election in context. This means they still blame—rightly so—the Republican policies of George W. Bush for the huge economic fiasco President Obama inherited. They also understand—and Latinos probably more so—that the GOP has been nothing but obstructionist when it comes to helping pass any legislation that would create jobs or increase economic growth (like the DREAM Act). It is certainly still “the economy, Stupid” but it’s the Republicans who are stupid if they think we will take no other issue into consideration when making such an important decision.
Why? Because all of the above issues, in my view as a Latina mother, are “women’s issues” and they are “economic issues.” Education, health care, the DREAM Act, they all have an effect on the economy of my family. And that makes them Latina issues.
So is it any wonder that in this new poll Latinas were so adamant about whom they would support in November? According to Latino Decisions: “…the poll included a new question asking Hispanic respondents which party was better equipped to address issues important to women. When it comes to handling issues of concern to women, Latino voters—both men and women—say that the Democratic Party is more trusted to handle women’s issues. However, among Latinas, we find a 65 point advantage for the Democrats on women’s issues, perhaps the largest gap on any policy issue our polling data has ever revealed—this is very bad news for the Republican Party. What’s more, our data indicate that Latinas are more motivated to vote in 2012 than are Latino men. Among Latinas, 59% say they are very enthusiastic about voting this year (51% for men) and 88% say they are certain to vote (84% of men).”
There are 50 days left until the election. And while Mitt Romney has stumbled recently, allowing for President Obama to increase his lead, Romney’s lack of a decisive argument or a strategy to increase his support among Latina voters will surely spell his doom on Election Day.