Following victories in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is increasingly seeking to broaden his appeal with Spanish-language voters. Yesterday he launched “Nosotros,” a Spanish-language ad narrated by his son Craig that prominently features the endorsement of three Cuban-born Floridian lawmakers.
The 31-second ad, which includes shots of the Miami skyline and Romney’s November visit to a Conchita Foods grocery store, signals the Romney campaign’s efforts to specifically target voters in Florida’s Miami-Dade County, where 72 percent of registered Republicans are Latino, and most are of Cuban descent. Before airing “Nosotros,” Romney had skipped the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market in his $850,000 purchase of English-language broadcast ads made last week, pointing to his intention to focus particularly on Cuban-American voters with this ad. In addition, “Nosotros” features three prominent Cuban-born Floridian lawmakers—Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Representative Mario Díaz-Balart and his brother, former Congressman Lincoln Díaz-Balart—who tout Romney’s ability to restore America to greatness, create jobs and restore national security.
Romney and other Republican candidates face a challenge of appealing to Latino voters while portraying themselves as “true conservatives”—which may mean taking an enforcement-only approach to one issue on many Latinos’ minds: undocumented immigration. Recognizing the importance of the Latino vote in Florida and across the country (about 21 million of the 50.5 million Latinos in the U.S. are eligible to vote), Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced on Wednesday that the RNC would be undertaking a major effort to engage Latino voters, including digital outreach, voter identification and traditional get-out-the-vote campaigns.
Florida’s primaries will take place on January 31, with early voting beginning 10 days earlier. It will be the nation’s first big-state presidential primary, and Florida is likely to play a key role in the outcome of the presidential election in November. Quinnipiac polls released this week show Romney having a double-digit lead among likely Florida Republican voters; Obama is tied with either Romney or Rick Santorum in a hypothetical general election match-up.
June 1: This AQ-Efecto Naím segment looks at sustainable cities in the hemisphere.