Although President Barack Obama may be counting on this weekend’s Summit of the Americas to gather more support from Latino voters (Reuters), a new poll by Gallup shows his job approval rating in Latin America has dropped 10 percentage points since 2009.
The poll shows Obama’s median job approval rating in the entire region rating stands at 47 percent in 2011, down from 62 percent in 2009. A median of 24 percent across the Latin American countries Gallup surveyed in 2011 believe relations will strengthen with Obama, down from 43 percent in 2009.
Obama needs the support of Latino voters this fall to win key states such as Arizona and Colorado, along with Florida, where he will stop en route to the summit to talk up trade opportunities with Latin America. But predicting the impact of the Latino vote is proving to be a complex state-by-state conundrum (TIME). In the mean time, the Romney campaign is recalibrating after a primary season that some analysts have said has alienated Latino voters.
“As the [Mitt] Romney campaign rejiggers for the general election, there will be a pivot, at least in tone, to appeal to Latino voters,” says Michael Scherer in TIME. “The tough talk–advocating ‘self-deportation’ and calling Arizona a ‘model’ for the nation–will almost surely give way to more positive talk about the need for fair reforms to immigration law.” He says Obama, on the other hand, is “deploying specialized teams, which are reaching out to constituent groups” and investing in technology to court the Latino vote and gather data.
Should he be elected, Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney plans to issue five executive orders (WashPost) on Inauguration Day — including declaring China a currency manipulator — and “five bills for day one.”
Among the bills Romney plans to submit to Congress is a measure that would drop the corporate tax rate to 25 percent in an effort to make the United States more competitive with the rest of the world in attracting new businesses; one to reinstate presidential trade promotion authority “to facilitate negotiation of new trade agreements”; and one to make immediately cuts non-security discretionary spending by 5 percent.
In an effort to garner support for the “Buffett Rule” — a proposed change in tax laws that would set a 30 percent minimum income tax for people earning more than $1 million annually — the Obama campaign website on Wednesday began offering a chance for voters to calculate and compare their tax rate to that of GOP presumptive nominee Mitt Romney.
“Mitt Romney opposes the Buffett Rule because he wants to protect tax loopholes and give millionaires like himself trillions of dollars in tax breaks paid for by either increasing the deficit or by cutting programs critical to the middle class and economic growth,” the site says.
Romney economic policy adviser Kevin Hassett attacked the rule Wednesday. (WashPost)
“The economy seems to be stagnant. And all we’re talking about is a rule that will raise less than one percent of what we’re talking about in deficit spending over the next ten years,” he said.
— Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor