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Obama, the GOP, and the Latino vote

From NBC's Mark Murray
With the Senate beginning its debate on Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination today, it's worth pointing out how stable Obama's support among Latinos has been since he became president -- even with his poll numbers falling back to earth.

In the Feb.-March NBC/WSJ poll, Obama's approval among Latinos was at 67%; in April it was 76%; in June it was 71%, and July it was 66%. These percentages are consistent with the exit polls from November, which showed Obama getting 67% of the Latino vote.

Video: Chris Simcox, founder of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, is challenging Sen. John McCain in next year's senatorial primary. He joins a Morning Meeting panel to discuss the politics behind Sen. McCain's refusal to support Sonia Sotomayor.

On the other hand, Republicans haven't made much progress with Latinos. In Feb.-March, the GOP's fav/unfav among Hispanics was 25%-41%; in April it was 26%-50%; in June it was 29%-48%; and in July it was 20%-41%.

Journalist Tom Edsall, writing for the Huffington Post, notes that the Republican Party's grievances against the Obama administration are having an effect with white Americans -- Obama's approval with this group has dropped from 54% in Feb.-March to 46% now in the NBC/WSJ pollĀ -- but not with Hispanics or African Americans.

"It's all very reminiscent of the party's notorious Southern Strategy, which carried the GOP for decades," Edsall says. "But that strategy backfired spectacularly in the 2006 and 2008 elections, and there's no reason to think it will work any better in 2010 -- especially given the ever-growing importance of the minority electorate."

More: "In this respect, even if the GOP picks up a few House and Senate seats in 2010, many of the party's top analysts believe that it will remain mired in minority status through 2012 and beyond. Other analysts say it may even decline to the level of a minor regional party, with its only real strength in the South."