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Mitt Romney Still Faces Challenge With Latino Voters

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Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears at a campaign event at El Palacio de los Jugos, on Aug. 13 in Miami. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears at a campaign event at El Palacio de los Jugos, on Aug. 13 in Miami. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Soon-to-be official GOP nominee Mitt Romney faces a significant uphill climb with Latino voters, according to a weekly tracking poll released Monday, showing just how much he still has to prove this week at the Republican National Convention.

The tracking poll -- the first of its kind from Latino Decisions and ImpreMedia this election cycle -- found President Barack Obama at a 39-point lead over Romney, with 65 percent of Latino voters saying they would reelect the president over 26 percent who prefer Romney.

That's a far cry from the Romney campaign's goal for Latino votes in the election. Jose Fuentes, a co-chairman of Romney's Hispanic leadership team, told the Hill last week that the campaign's target number is 38 percent.

The polling figures are roughly consistent with other polling on the Latino vote this year, all of which shows Obama at a significant lead. The poll from Latino Decisions and ImpreMedia, like others, also found Obama with a huge lead among Latino voters on personal favorability -- 74 percent see him favorably versus the 27 percent who view Romney that way.

They also believe Democrats are far better at reaching out to Latinos, according to the poll. While 59 percent said Democrats are doing a good job in that area, only 14 percent said the same for Republicans, and 56 percent said the GOP doesn't seem to care about Latino outreach.

Jobs and the economy remain the most important issues to Latino voters, with 53 percent saying they are the most important issues facing the population, the pollsters found. Immigration and the Dream Act, a bill to help young undocumented immigrants gain legal status, came in shortly after, at 51 percent. Voters polled were allowed to pick one or two top priorities.

The tracking poll will be taken weekly for 300 Latino voters.

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