President Obama currently holds a seven point lead over Mitt Romney in Colorado according to a new PPP poll of the state. What is must interesting about the poll is why Obama is leading: it’s driven in large part by a huge lead among Hispanics. From PPP:
The reason the race has tightened over the last couple months is that Romney’s really closed the gap with independents. He still trails Obama 48-38 with them, but that’s quite a bit better than April when he was down 57-31. The candidates both have their party bases pretty unified with Obama at 87% of Democrats and Romney at 84% of Republicans.
There’s been an interesting shift along racial lines over the last 2 months. Obama’s doing better with Hispanics than he was previously, leading 60-33 compared to a previous advantage of 53-38. But he’s doing worse with whites, leading only 47-45, down from 52-41 in April. About a third of the interviews for this poll were conducted prior to Obama’s immigration announcement so it would be simplistic to ascribe those shifts to that, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
With unemployment still high, dropping economic confidence and a rapidly deteriorating situation in Europe likely to provide farther drag on our own economy, Obama is going to have a tough time winning over white swing voters whose primary concern is the economy.
Obama’s economic tenure has been disappointing. His job approval rating on the economy is significantly negative, and in general people view Romney as being as capable or even more capable in handling the economy.
While the Obama team will have a tough time convincing the general public he will be better on the economy than Romney, it is relatively easy for Obama to draw a sharp contrast on some issues particularly important to Hispanics, like immigration reform. Romney has staked out a rather hardcore anti-immigration position during the GOP primary, and that’s being highlighted against Obama’s recent popular move to help undocumented immigrants that came here as children.
Since this is one of the few places Obama can, with his own actions, prove to a large voting bloc that he is clearly “better” than Romney, the campaign needs to exploit it to maximum effect. Obama will likely need to win this Hispanic vote by overwhelming margins to win this year.