Mitt Romney's gap with Hispanic voters is so wide that he may have no choice but to try to one-up Obama – perhaps by putting Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida on the GOP ticket.
We're referring, of course, to Mr. Obama's decision on Friday to direct that young illegal immigrants brought to America as children be allowed to remain and work in the country – a move that is expected to strengthen Obama's already-considerable edge among Hispanic voters.
In 2008, Obama won the Hispanic vote handily, beating Sen. John McCain (who had notably gone against his party's conservative base on immigration reform) by a lopsided 67 to 31 percent. This year, the Hispanic vote may play an even more important role, representing a larger share of the electorate overall and in a number of key swing states, with as many as 2 million more eligible voters. So far, polls indicate that Obama is on track to match or even improve on his 2008 performance. A recent Gallup poll – taken before Friday's executive order – showed Obama leading Mr. Romney among Hispanics by 67 percent to 26 percent.
As conservative George Will put it on ABC's "This Week" Sunday: "[Republicans] spent the primary season competing to see who could build the longest, thickest, tallest, most lethally electrified fence. And Hispanics listening to this detected hostility – they're funny that way. And so Romney has a big hole to dig out of, because if he gets under, say, the 31 percent of Hispanic voters that McCain got, he's going to lose."
Monday morning, the Obama campaign continued rubbing it in by announcing the endorsement of popular TV host Cristina Saralegui, who has been referred to as "the Latin Oprah."