McCain’s problem looks to be most pronounced among Protestant Latinos, who had seemed to be the GOP’s doorway into the Hispanic population. From 2000 to 2004, Protestant Latinos increased their share of the total Hispanic electorate from 25 percent to 32 percent, in large part because of Bush’s evangelical outreach and strategic microtargeting of the community. Even as turnout increased, support for Bush among the group rose from 44 percent in 2000 to 56 percent in 2004.
The Pew poll, however, shows that only a third of Protestant or Evangelical Hispanics intend to vote for McCain, while 59 percent support Obama — who also enjoys a 50-percentage-point lead among Catholic Latinos, long a solid bloc of the Democratic coalition.
You have to wonder if this poor showing by McCain among one of the truly critical swing voter groups will have an effect on the remainder of his general election campaign, including his veep choice. Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight notes today that Mitt Romney appears terribly weak among Hispanic voters, probably thanks to his efforts to pose as a tough guy on immigration during the nominating contest.