President Barack Obama and outside groups working on his behalf have spent or pledged to spend $6 million on Spanish-language television and radio ads, compared to $110,000 for Mitt Romney.
The Obama campaign has spent more than $2 million, Politico
reports. And the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action and the Service Employees International Union have committed to spend $4 million through the summer in the key swing states of Colorado, Nevada, and Florida.
Hispanics account for more than 20 percent of the population in those states, and about 13 percent of registered voters in Florida.
The Obama camp thinks that Latino voters can provide the margin for victory in November. “It’s a lot of votes,” Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Charles Gonzalez, D-Texas, told Politico. “And that may well determine who wins this election if it comes down to certain battleground states.”
Obama and the Democratic National Committee spent $20 million to attract Hispanic votes in 2008, and he ended up with two-thirds of them, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis.
The Obama camp is spending a lot of money early to insure success.
But spending from the Romney side could start to catch up soon, as he exits his primary campaign. The former Massachusetts governor has adopted a softer stance on immigration now that his GOP opponents have fallen to the wayside.
Republicans think Romney can make inroads among Latin voters, and they see Obama’s heavy early spending as a sign the president is scared about losing the Hispanic vote.
“It’s really interesting to see that President Obama has spent all this money already, and I think it’s because, frankly, he’s seen as kind of being a little bit out of touch with reality,” Cuban-American Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., told Politico. “Remember when he said, ‘The economy is fine?’ Latinos are dealing with an 11 percent employment rate.”
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