12/14/2011 03:59 pm ET

GOP's Tough Road To Winning The Latino Vote In 2012

The GOP will have a tough time wooing the Latino vote in 2012, according to a new poll by Latino Decisions/ImpreMedia.

In a hypothetical match-up between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, an overwhelming 49 percent of respondents said they were "certain to vote for Obama."

When asked to rate the extent to which the Republican Party is reaching out to Hispanics, 27 percent of respondents cited the Republican Party as "being hostile," while only eight percent said the same of Democrats. Moreover, 52 percent rated the Democratic Party as doing a "good job" of reaching out to Hispanics.

Which brings up the question: how much further can GOP candidates continue to alienate the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population?

As Pilar Marrero reported in La Opinion:

"No Republican candidate has inspired any interest among Latinos," said University of New Mexico political science professor Gabriel Sanchez. "As for Obama, his approval among Latinos has remained stable. We may not be so enamored with him as before, but what the survey goes on to show is that his philosophy is more consistent with Latino voters."

The possible naming of Tea Party favorite and popular South Florida politician Sen. Marco Rubio as a GOP vice presidential candidate could do little to change that perception of hostility coming from the right, according to NPR:

"I think most [Republican] strategists look at the arithmetic and realize they have to do a little better with Hispanics if they want to win the mountain states and some others," says Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College in California. "If Mitt Romney is the nominee, he will probably consider Rubio or [New Mexico Gov.] Susana Martinez as his running mate. That wouldn't bring the Hispanic vote as a bloc, but it could reduce Obama's advantage. ... If Mitt Romney could shift maybe 5 points among Latinos from Democrats to Republicans, that could tip several close states to the Republicans."