President Barack Obama picked up the endorsement of the country’s largest Spanish-language newspaper Tuesday.
The endorsement from Los Angeles-based La Opinión isn’t surprising, given the gaping lead Obama has enjoyed among Latinos for the duration of the campaign. But rather than striking at what is widely regarded as Mitt Romney’s greatest weakness among Latino voters -- immigration -- the editorial explaining the endorsement takes issue with the GOP hopeful’s economic pitch.
“Come Nov. 6, there is no clearer choice for Hispanic voters than to re-elect President Barack Obama,” the editorial, which was published in both English and Spanish, reads. “The president's vision is inclusive, forward-looking and promotes growth without leaving people behind. The former governor's vision is divisive and his proposals are the same that have led to a huge wealth gap."
Romney has taken heat for his far-right stances on immigration, ideas with which polls indicate few Latinos agree. But throughout the presidential race, the Romney campaign has pointed out that poll after poll also shows that Latinos, like most groups, are most concerned with the economy. A successful businessman, Romney has opted to sell himself to voters as a better steward of the economy.
But La Opinion disagrees. The editors don’t mention immigration until the 10th paragraph of the endorsement. Instead, the article says Obama “worked to bandage a nation on the brink of financial collapse triggered by the mortgage and foreclosure crisis.” The editors say Obama invested billions in community colleges and job training and they credit Obamacare for delivering affordable health care to 9 million previously uninsured Latinos.
Polling indicates that La Opinion’s distrust of Romney’s economic pitch is widespread in the Latino community.
“When we ask people who they trust more to fix the economy moving forward, they're telling us by a 2 to 1 margin that they favor Democratic policies,” Matt Barreto of Latino Decisions told The Huffington Post last month.
There’s a silver lining for conservatives, however: the longer Latinos spend in the country, the more distrustful of government they become. Some 81 percent of first generation Latinos favor a larger government that provides more services, according to a Pew Hispanic Center study released this year. That figure drops to 58 percent among third generation and higher Latinos.
Some in the GOP don’t view their positions as the problem.
Speaking for the Romney campaign, former United States Ambassador to VenezuelaOtto Reich told Spanish news agency EFE that Latino voters don’t favor the GOP because they “are not well informed.”
“We’re not communicating (with those voters) as we should,” added Reich, a Cuban-American who also served as the a special envoy for the Western Hemisphere, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs and assistant administrator of the US Agency for International Development during the Reagan administration and both Bush presidencies.
It’s not the first time Team Romney has said the candidate’s dismal performance among Latino voters owes to lack of information.
Addressing a Latino Coalition luncheon during the Republican Convention in August, Ann Romney urged Latinos to get past “their biases” and vote conservative, according to ABC News. Ann Romney said women and Latino voters who normally support Democrats should “wake up and say, ‘You’d better really look at the issues this time.’”