President George Bush won 44% of the Hispanic vote in 2004 and won the presidency. In 2008, Senator John McCain only received 31% of the Hispanic vote and he lost to President Barack Obama in the election. Now, in 2012, Republicans are holding their convention in Tampa and the Hispanic vote is once again an important factor in the election. Sources at the convention in Tampa are saying the GOP is trying to determine how they can get back to the level of Hispanic voters that Bush had in 2004.
The challenge the Republicans face is daunting, as President Obama is well supported by the majority of Hispanic groups and voters. According to a recent poll by Telemundo and the Wall Street Journal, Hispanics prefer the President to his Republican challengers by a 63% to 28% difference. The poll also says that close to 60% of Hispanic voters feel Romney is not in step with how most Americans think on issues that are most important in the country.
Even though Latinos are faced with disproportionately high unemployment levels, nearly 60% said they approved of the way President Obama was handling the U.S. economy.
The main strategy the GOP is using to attract Hispanics at the ongoing convention is featuring Hispanics in the GOP that are prominent, such as Luce Vela, the first lady of Puerto Rico, who on Tuesday night introduced Ann Romney and Marco Rubio, the Senator from Florida, who will have the honor of introducing Republican nominee Romney on Thursday.
There also have been speaking slots on primetime that have featured prominent Hispanic GOP members like Governors Luis Fortuño from Puerto Rico, Brian Sandoval from Nevada and Susana Martinez from New Mexico.