WASHINGTON--Republican National Committee political director Rick Wiley, in a memo out Wednesday morning, lays out the case why the Obama team will have trouble holding Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.
A few weeks ago, the RNC in a similar move, said President Obama cannot in 2012 keep states he won in 2008: Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin.
Click below for memo......
To: Interested Parties
From: Rick Wiley, RNC Political Director
Date: July 20, 2011
RE: With friends like this...
Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico represent a third of the states Barack Obama took from George W. Bush's win column in 2008. With their 20 electoral votes, Obama strategist David Axelrod has said the President must hold the Southwest battleground states to win re-election. It becomes even more important to his re-election chances when states like Pennsylvania - a reliably Democrat state in recent Presidential elections with 20 electoral votes of its own - appears increasingly difficult for him to hold.
Colorado's Democrat governor John Hickenlooper, one of the few Democrat victors in the Southwest in 2010, will be the first to tell Obama about his Colorado troubles. Speaking last week about President Obama's chances in 2012 in his home state, Hickenlooper said: "I think it'd be a very close battle. He'd have a hard time." The reason, according to Hickenlooper: "there's such dissatisfaction over people who have been out of work, not just for a few months but for a year and a half or two years."
This frank admission by the sitting Democrat governor of Colorado underscores a problem the President faces in every region of the country. Dissatisfaction over the President's stewardship of the economy and empty campaign promises from 2008 have left voters wary of a second Obama term.
Hickenlooper's counterparts in Nevada and New Mexico are Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez; both Republicans elected to their first terms in 2010. Both are popular and effective leaders. Both too are Hispanic. Governor Sandoval is the first Hispanic governor of Nevada, and Governor Martinez is the first ever female Hispanic governor in the nation. Their elections are not just important for being firsts, their elections, like many other recent victories by Hispanic Republicans, are proof to Hispanic voters they have a home in the GOP.
Hispanic voters are a key part of the electorate in all three states. Estimates of the Hispanic share of the population eligible to vote in Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico for 2012 are 13%, 17%, and 42% respectively. Obama comfortably won the Hispanic vote in 2008, but wide margins in 2012 are at this point far from a certainty. Nationally, President Obama's job approval rating among Hispanics has fallen by 20 points since his inauguration, based on Gallup's weekly data. In June his approval dipped as low as 47%, matching the low point among Hispanics of his presidency. Worse still, Hispanic unemployment stands at 11.6%, nearly two and a half points above the national average.
Hispanic voters, like all voters, are waiting for action and progress from the Obama administration on the economy and unemployment. And they are waiting to see if the President is serious about tackling our skyrocketing federal budget deficit and debt. If they continue to see the failed leadership they've witnessed for the last two and a half years, then President Obama will "have a hard time" in the entire Southwest.