With just a few days before the Florida primary election a new survey conducted by Mamiverse shows that Latina mom voters in the Sunshine State are less than impressed by the GOP candidate pool, with more than two-thirds noting “none of these are acceptable.” Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney received the most support, 12 percent, among Latina moms expressing a preference. Romney fared better, with 36 percent support, among Latina moms who self-identified as Republicans.

But the result showed that President Obama would likely be re-elected, as he enjoys ample support among Latina mothers in Florida. In a hypothetical match-up against Governor Romney, Obama leads 57% to 28%, with 14% undecided. While a hypothetical matchup against Speaker Gingrich, would result in a slightly bigger margin of victory for Obama, 59% to 26%, with 15% undecided. The poll holds a +/- 5.49 margin-of-error.

Almost half of the Latina moms polled agreed that the economy and jobs topped the list as the most important issues affecting the Latino community and need to be addressed by the President and Congress. The poll of more than 300 Latina mothers, who are registered Florida voters, between the ages of 18 and 60, was conducted in partnership with Latino Decision, a Washington, DC, based research firm and ImpreMedia.  The Mamiverse Poll results echo some of the latest polls, including a Rasmussen poll  released Thursday, showing Romney with 39 percent support to Gingrich’s 31 percent. Other polls on Politico showed that Obama enjoyed a slightly smaller lead when pitted against individual Republican candidates.

“With elections being decided by just a few dozen votes in some cases, now more than ever, emerging voter segments like these can have a major impact in tight races,” says Mamiverse contributing editor Maria Cardona. And the GOP presidential contenders are taking notice. All four candidates have spent millions of dollars in radio and television ads trying to court the Latino vote in Florida.

“Latina moms are to the 2012 election what Soccer moms were in 2008: potential king-makers,” said Mamiverse Founder and CEO Rene Alegria.

The game-changer among Latina moms was support of the Dream Act. The women surveyed were asked whether an unnamed candidate’s pledge to pass the Dream Act would make them more likely to support that candidate, less likely, or have no effect.

Overwhelmingly, results showed that support for the Dream Act will curry favor with Latina moms, with 71% reported being more likely to support such a candidate, compared with only 7% reporting being less likely and 16% saying that it would not affect their vote.

Enthusiasm for the GOP candidates is not surprisingly higher among survey respondents self-identifying as Republicans, with Romney enjoying 36% support, a significant advantage over Gingrich’s 10 percent, Santorum’s 8% and Ron Paul’s 3%. However, 41% of even self-identified Republicans said “none of these are acceptable.”

It’s worth noting that only 22% of the sample self-identified as Republican, so the margin-of-error for this distribution only is +/- 11.7%. While among Independents, 73% said none were acceptable, resulting in a margin of error of +/- 9.7%.

When asked to identify the two most important issues in the upcoming presidential election, the results showed that Latina moms in Florida chose the following:

  1. 49% economy and jobs
  2. 32% immigration and the Dream Act
  3. 24% education and schools as a priority

The ranking of the most important issues in the upcoming presidential election echoed the results of a major national study of Online Latina Moms released earlier this week by MamiverseThe Mamiverse Study of Online Latina Moms and New Media, conducted in partnership with MediaFix, a multinational research firm, randomly surveyed more than 1,000 English-dominant/bilingual Online Latina Moms ages 25-to-59, with at least one child between 3 and 18 years of age. In that study, Online Latina Moms ranked jobs and education at the top, with 62 and 61 percent, while health care came in third with 39 percent and immigration and national security rounded out the list with 20 and 18 percent, respectively. That earlier poll of Online Latina Moms did not ask about the Dream Act.

Interviews with some Latina moms who did not participate in the survey, echoed some of the findings of the Florida study.

“I want stability for my family,” said Georgina Aguas Wolf, who has two daughters in college and whose husband recently lost his job. The commercial business banker added, “I’m not sold on anyone so far because I don’t know who can really turn around this economy.”

Nina Vaca, Chairwoman of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said, “Sixty-four percent of jobs created in America come from small businesses and Hispanic businesses are the fastest growing of that segment.” As founder and CEO of Pinnacle Tech Resources, a technology management and staffing company based in Dallas, Vaca is concerned about taxation and regulation legislation that may prevent her from growing her company.

However, for Magaly Hamm, a retired grandmother of 14 grandkids and three great-grandchildren, education and healthcare concern her the most.  “The public school system needs to be revamped and provide better curriculums.”  As for healthcare, Hamm says Obama’s program does not address the issues in the right way.  “I know a lot of people who still have to choose between buying food and medicine,” she added.

According to 2010 US Census figures, Latina moms were responsible for 55% of overall US population growth in the last decade, with Latinos accounting for one out of every four babies born in the US.

“Latina women have long been recognized as playing a special role in keeping together the Latino family and imposing discipline,” said Jose Gabilondo, a professor at Florida International University.  He added, “their primary role is no longer that of caretaker and spouse, but also of main breadwinner or economic partner.”

In a society that traditionally treats Latinos as a niche consumer market, the financial expert said the 2012 presidential contenders should grant Latinos adequate political power.  

Names were selected from a list of all voters registered in the state.  Hispanic/Latino registrants were identified through a combination of surname identification as well as geographic, commercial and consumer markers of Hispanicity, resulting in a sample that includes both Hispanic-surnamed and non-Hispanic-surnamed registered voters.  Respondents were then screened to confirm their registration status and Latino/Hispanic identity, and to ascertain whether the potential respondent had a child or children, ages 21 and under.  The poll was conducted by fully bilingual interviewers, in either English or Spanish, depending on the discretion of the respondent.