President Obama made his first major outreach effort to the giant Latino voter block last month, spouting on immigration reform in Latin America and chatting with minority students on Univision about how much standardized tests, like, suck (among more pressing issues).
And what did all that racial-barrier breaking get him in return?
According to the latest national poll by ImpreMedia (the money behind L.A.'s La Opinon) and Latino Decisions, he's seen a 3 percent drop in approval ratings from the end of January to the end of March.
Would you like some hielo with that burn, Mr. President?
Of course, the poll has an error margin of 4.4 percent, but presidential approval certainly didn't go up during Obama's grand effort to impress the fastest growing group of U.S. voters.
And that's not even the most worrisome figure, because Obama still has 76 percent approval, placing him well above the Republican congress. No, it's the difference between those who merely approve, and those who say they'll definitely vote for him in 2012, that should worry Obama the most:
Only 43 percent are shoo-ins. So where did our well-intentioned POTUS go wrong?
It's simple, really: He's all talk. Latino Decisions co-founder and political-science professor Matt Barreto says that, since Obama took office, “there's been no action at all on any policy issues specific to the Latino community.”
Despite campaign promises to make immigration a service again, rather than an area of criminal enforcement, Obama's administration has deported more Latinos and raided more workplaces than that of Bush — even though more than two-thirds of deportees had squeaky-clean records. Still, he claims powerless.
The health-care bill was another big “F you” in that it excluded everyone but full citizens. And the DREAM Act, the least controversial reform of the bunch (it would give college kids legal residency), was squashed under Obama's watch.
In other words: What have you done for us lately? Absolutely nothin'.
Compare the late-January numbers to the late-March numbers. There are some pretty awesome tidbits in there if you really get to snooping, e.g. Latino women are way more likely to vote Obama (he is pretty sexy, as far as presidents go) and 0 percent of those polled thought cutting taxes was a top priority (which could explain the ugly odds with congress).
For one very wise man's take on the corner Obama's backed himself into, see “UCLA Professor: Cash From L.A. ($20 Million Per Year) Makes Up Half the Economy in One Part of El Salvador.” And until he shapes up:
“If [immigration] is not addressed up to 2012, you're still going to see these big gaps,” says Barreto. “People are going to be frustrated and not necessarilty excited about voting.”
Hear that, Obama? Time to make some executive decisions in the interest of those who could very well tip the scale in the next big election. Not to mention help make our country go 'round.
Watch him talk the talk, at least, on Univision: