Hispanic voters continue to say they prefer President Obama by wide margins over Republican nominee Mitt Romney amid signs that the race is tightening among the broader electorate, according to new data in a NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll.
Obama leads Romney 70 percent to 25 percent among likely Latino voters (and 69 percent to 23 percent among registered voters), a slight uptick for Romney from the 70 percent to 25 percent lead the president held a month ago.
Read the full poll results here
But Latino enthusiasm has ticked up since last month, up from its lows earlier this cycle but still not yet on par with Latino enthusiasm for Obama in 2008.
More Hispanics than last month said they are either a 9 or 10 (on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the lowest) on a measure of their enthusiasm for this election. Sixty-eight percent of likely Latino voters rated their enthusiasm at that level, up from 59 percent last month. But that is off from the 76 percent who said they were in that highest-interest group at this time four years ago. And it is below the 76 percent who are 9s and 10s in the wider NBC/WSJ poll.
The debates appear to have had little impact with Latinos in the poll, which was conducted entirely after the second presidential debate. Just 14 percent said they are now more likely to vote for Romney while 48 percent said it made them more likely to vote for Obama, and 35 percent said it made no difference.
A total of 13 percent of Latinos said they have already voted – either in person or by mail. Another 10 percent said they plan to vote before Election Day.
There were some drops for the president, however. His approval rating is still very strong at 66 percent, but it’s down from the sky-high 73 percent he enjoyed last month. On the economy, Obama’s approval declined slightly from 66 percent to 61 percent. And even his favorability saw a small decline from 74 percent positive last month to 69 percent this month.
The problem for Romney, however, continues to involve a severe image problem with Hispanics. A solid majority – 57 percent – of Hispanic voters said they had a negative view of the former Massachusetts governor, while just a quarter – 26 percent – had a positive impression of Romney.
In fact, almost half – 45 percent – had a “very negative” impression of Romney, up from 35 percent last month.
The NBC/WSJ poll, including the Hispanic oversample, was conducted from Oct. 17 to Oct. 20 and has a margin of error of +/- 6.8 percent among likely voters and +/- 5.7 percent among registered voters.