CHARLOTTE CONVENTION CENTER, 501 SOUTH COLLEGE STREET
MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the Foreign Press Center’s briefing center here at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. It’s a pleasure for us to have you here. We thank you very much for coming. We’re delighted this afternoon to have with us John Zogby from Zogby International, the polling company, and he’s going to go over the latest polling results. He’ll make about 10 or 15 minutes of remarks and then we’ll take questions. And before you ask your question, please make sure that you have the microphone in front of you, and then you give your name and news organization. So without further ado, John Zogby joins us. John?
MR. ZOGBY: Is that somebody trying to clap in the press? (Laughter.) Wow. It’s a good day already. Wow. Okay. Hi. Good to see most of you again. I think – I know you. It’s good to see all of you but good to see most of you again.
All right. It is tied. t-i-e-d, tied. It was tied at the beginning of the week. In our poll for the Washington Times it was 46 percent to 46 percent – 45.7 to 45.7 to be exact. And then in the poll that we just completed, 800 likely voters nationwide, taken from the 31st of August through September 3rd, it’s tied at 44 to 44 with 12 percent undecided. Let me not be obnoxious about this. This is not a virtual tie. This is a tie.
When I look at the breakdowns of all of the crosstabs, these are some of the things that I see. We’ve segmented out 12 battleground states. Now remember, 12 battleground states all clustered together out of a sample of 800, and it is tied. Actually, Romney 43, Obama 42. Let’s call that a virtual tie. Men versus women? Romney leads among men by six, Obama leads among women by six.
In terms of some of the key groups that I’m looking at, young voters are absolutely critical for Obama. He won 66 percent of 18 to 29 year olds in 2008. He is presently leading among that group 54 percent to 33 percent. For a while, for a few weeks, his lead among young people had slipped a little, but it’s heading back to now a 23 point lead, but it’s not good enough – 54 to 33. Last time it was 66-31. He’s got some difficulties with young people. Let me take a moment to explain.
Young people voted in record numbers in 2008. They were all about 19 percent of the total vote. And they overwhelmingly voted for Obama. This is a group that I have referred to in my writings as the “first globals” – America’s first global citizens – filled with hope and a sense of optimism and a planetary sensibility as no other age cohort ever before. Something obviously has happened to the first globals in the last four years. And now there is a small but growing subset of young people that I refer to as CENGA – College Educated Not Going Anywhere. This is a problem. This recession has lasted, it’s fermented, it’s prevented this core group from getting started or achieving whatever expectation in life they had for this point in time. And the difficulty that they face right now is that they don’t really trust anyone. Not simply Mr. Obama alone – they don’t trust anyone.
What we’re seeing is – and I don’t know how this will play out, so please, none of this is a prediction – but at least at this moment in time, there are – there is a small group of young people – 10 percent or thereabouts – who are telling us that they would vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian. Now I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not, probably not, but it does suggest that there’s a growing sense of libertarian – with a small L – libertarianism among young people because of their lack of confidence and distrust in government, in debt, in leadership.
Continuing on with Obama’s key groups – Hispanics. In 2008, Mr. Obama won 67 percent of the Hispanic vote to John McCain’s 31. Those numbers were down low a year and a half ago. For a while, we saw those numbers rebound, and over the last few months Mr. Obama was polling in the mid-60s among Hispanics. That was the good news for him. In this poll, I have him at 57 percent.
Now, he leads 57 to 26. I have seen no evidence whatsoever of the GOP or Mr. Romney polling any better than that. That is low, very low, dangerously low for a Republican. The problem that Mr. Obama faces, however, is the 16 percent who are undecided among Hispanics. Interpretation, speculation: Hispanics who are undecided are probably not going to vote, or at least many of them will not vote. That’s a huge problem. He has some work to do among Hispanics.
A third and final group to talk about regarding what Mr. Obama needs as part of his strategy and part of his victory coalition, he won handsomely in 2008 among a group that we are going to call the “creative class.” This is not a term that I have coined. Richard Florida, who is really a brilliant economist and economic development consultant, coined the term, has written a number of books about the creative class – those people, broadly, who work in the world of ideas and the arts, in culture, in science. These are people who are in entertainment, media, high technology, artisans – the traditional professions – health care, education. Forty million strong this time around.
In 2008, when there were 35 million who voted in the creative class, Mr. Obama won about 61 percent of that group. That’s not only in terms of the overall vote, but very importantly, it was that critical group that helped to put him over the top in 12 states that had been George W. Bush states and became blue Obama states. I’m talking southern New Hampshire, near Boston. Northeastern Virginia – suburbs of Washington. Right here, Charlotte. And to the east, the research triangle, North Carolina. Southern Florida. Santa Fe, New Mexico, and so on. Today, Mr. Obama leads Mitt Romney 51 to 39 among the creative class – not good enough.
Now while we’re on the topic of not good enough, let’s talk about Governor Romney, groups that he needs. He needs evangelical Christians. Last time around, John McCain, who, as you know, was not a favorite of evangelicals – John McCain won 70 percent of Born-again or Evangelical Christians. Mr. Obama won about the whole remainder, 30 percent. This time around, in this most recent poll, Mitt Romney is polling 54 percent among Evangelicals. That’s been kind of consistent. 54 to 33 for Obama. That’s not good enough. Let’s disaggregate that for a minute.
When you look at the remainder of those evangelicals, which is very high, evangelical voters – voters – tend to have their minds already made up. I’ve kidded for years that they have their boots and raincoats hanging by the door; they can’t wait to go and vote. If 16 percent are undecided, one – sorry to throw these numbers out, but this is what I do – one-third of the 16 percent who are undecided among evangelicals say they will never vote for a Mormon. One-third of the 16 percent who are undecided. Now, I don't know what “never” means. Mormon, Muslim, I don't know, maybe they’ll change their minds. I’m kidding. I’m an Arab American; I can talk like that. (Laughter.) You can’t, however, but I can. I don't know what “never” means, but if that “never” holds, that’s not good for Governor Romney.
All right. What needs to be done from here? Governor Romney gave his speech. He did about what he needed to do. All he really needed to show to voters was that if you pinch me, I bruise, and if you cut me, I bleed. I am a fellow human being. I think he emerged successfully from that expectation. That was enough to get him to a tie. That’s it. This is not a big bounce year. We’ve had them before, but this is not a big bounce year. Mitt – President Obama will give his speech on Thursday night. What does he have to do? This is the irony. He has a story to tell and he’s an excellent storyteller, and yet he has allowed the other side to control his story. So if I were him – and if you’d like, I can be Governor Romney too – but for now, if I were Obama, this is what I would do: I wouldn’t say things would have been worse. I would say I moved things forward. The question is not, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” The question is: “Are you better off than you would have been had the other side won?” He’s got to get that message out. And it’s short; it’s a bumper sticker.
He needs also to show that every president – Democratic president since Harry Truman, including icons Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton – all tried to do something about healthcare. I did it. It may not have been perfect, but you know what? There was a lot of criticism of Social Security when it first came out. People hated Medicare when it first came out. He’s got to show that he did it and then you mend it as you go along. The stimulus; he has let the other side control the stimulus as just partisan waste. What he has to do is show that the stimulus not only stemmed the tide – the decline – but that he invested in areas like green technology, he invested in solar, he invested in the environment and in education in the 21st century.
His problem is very simple. He may very well fill the stadium down the street in a couple of days. He may give one of the great speeches of his career, and he’s capable of doing that. But within 12 hours of his speech, the unemployment numbers are released, and that is the story. And let me tell you a little bit about what my polling shows. Back when the unemployment rate was at 9.3 percent, a year and seven, eight – about a year and a half ago – I asked people, “Who would you vote for? The President or a Republican?” And voters said, at 9.3 percent, “We’d vote for the Republican.”
So then what I did – this is what we do in our business – I dropped it a tenth of a percent and I watched. When it got to 8.2 percent, a plurality said they would vote for Barack Obama. When it got to 8 percent, 8.0 percent, a majority said they would vote for Barack Obama. So right now, he is at 8.247 percent, which rounds out to 8.3. That’s why it’s a tie. Exactly. All these numbers point to that.
Let me announce to you, the Foreign Press Center, something that I have not said ever before. You’re hearing it exclusively right here. I have no idea what’s going to happen on November 6th, so help me God. There is so much between now and then, and one of the problems is that there are people who are going to start voting over the next few weeks, which really complicates things. They will miss – and not only that – we have in our polls anywhere from 4 percent to 14 percent in various states who tell us, “I made up my mind on Election Day.” So you think you’ve got it difficult? We’ve got it kind of difficult ourselves.
Bottom line is there’s a lot of campaign to go, and I think that those are my prefatory remarks, and I’m happy to mix it up a little bit with you folks. Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much, John. And we’ll take questions now, but before you ask your question, wait until the microphone comes to you and then please give your news organization and your name. Okay? And we’ll start right here.
QUESTION: Thank you, hi.
MR. ZOGBY: Hi.
QUESTION: How are you? Listen, I just wanted to know about the undecided. You said that there is 12 percent, but there are other polls that are indicating that there is less, that it’s kind of 5 percent because of the polarization of the society. So I would like to know what’s right.
MR. ZOGBY: Sure. Yep. Most of the polls – do I have to repeat the question or no?
MODERATOR: No, no, that’s perfectly fine.
MR. ZOGBY: Most of the polls that I do at this stage do not push people. In other words, we ask the question, “Who would you vote for,” and then we move on. Occasionally I’ll do a poll – the one previous to this – we’ll say – ask the undecided voters, “Who are you leaning towards,” and then we’ll factor them in. And so a poll that I – when I said that last week it was 46-46, I had 5 percent undecided because I factored in the leaners. This one, I did not factor in the leaners. I do it more consistently starting October 1st, when I think it matters more.
But the truth be told, there are relatively few genuinely undecided voters.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) from Politiken in Denmark. You talked about the unemployment rate and the very interesting experiment you did with the 8 percent. In history it’s said that you have to go below 7.2 percent to get out of the mess of – to get reelected. And there’s also this statistic saying that you have to be below 95 in the Consumer Confidence Index to get reelected.
Why do you think that it seems like Obama doesn’t need to go lower than that, actually?
MR. ZOGBY: Okay, that – very good question. We’re in a situation – and I am someone who taught history for 24 years – I think that those historical numbers are not relevant, simply because they are relative. We are so polarized that there are some people who just will not consider a Republican, some people who just will not consider a Democrat. And so that’s just the way it is.
And so there’s a relativity to the unemployment as well. Is there a sense that there is momentum in terms of growth? So yeah, I mean, normally, the unemployment rate used to be considered full employment at 4 percent, then it became 5 percent, and now it’s 6 percent to be full employment. There are also – 37 percent of adult voters work at a job that pays less than a previous job. And so – and that’s a number I’ve seen grow steadily over the last two decades incrementally every year. So I think those rules of engagement are less relevant.
I look at interest at some of the analytics, like the polling aggregators, and the livestock commodities exchange, and the Consumer Confidence Index. Those are very interesting and they have an historical relevance to them, but in this instance I really think that we are just so polarized that there are going to be other factors that come into play, not the least of which is, “Who is Mitt Romney?” And so if we want to use history as a metaphor here, why is Mitt Romney not winning by 10 points, which is a whole other question.
MR. ZOGBY: Yeah. Is that your follow-up?
MR. ZOGBY: Yeah, I don’t know. No, yeah, you – voters have to like the messenger before they listen to the message. I think he got a start, but obviously it was not enough to bring him to a tie.
MODERATOR: Right over here.
QUESTION: Hey, John. Ron Baygents with Kuwait News Agency. The issue of people being turned off by the negative ads, the relentless torrent which we understand is going to be even more in the next 60 days – is there any way to figure out who’s more turned off, and therefore who will be less likely to vote?
MR. ZOGBY: Very good question. We’ve never been able to get a handle on that. That’s why we’ve had this phenomenon that I’ve been watching since 1998 of the growing percentage of people who tell us they make up their minds, finally, on election day. So when we look at the 12 percent undecided or the 5 or 6 percent undecided, we honestly don’t even know if they’re going to vote. And if they’re still undecided after we push them – and it’ll probably continue at around those numbers, 10 or 12 percent undecided overall, when pushed, 5 or 6 percent still undecided – we still have no idea.
Voters tell us they don’t pay attention to negative ads. And yet I remember – I was doing focus groups in the battleground states in 2004, and I asked people, “What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name ‘John Kerry?’” And most of the people and most of the focus groups said, “Well, he voted for the 81 billion before he voted against it.” They got it from negative advertising. It’s the same principle of people who say, “Oh, I don’t pay any attention to television advertising,” and then they’re humming the Tide commercial when they’re going down the aisle. So it’s one of those things I don’t think we’ll get a handle on. What I do know is that it probably will drive turnout down.
MODERATOR: Hold on, please. We’ll wait for the microphone. Please wait for the microphone, if you will. Thank you.
QUESTION: I’m trying to differentiate between undecideds and turned-off and won’t vote.
MR. ZOGBY: Yeah. I – honestly, I don’t think we can get a handle on that. There is just – there is too much fluidity.
MODERATOR: Question way in the back, there.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) from Geo TV, Pakistan. On 1-10 scale, how far foreign policy is going to play any wider role in deciding for the supporters with Romney or with Obama?
MR. ZOGBY: Another very important question. Obviously, the economy is the dominant issue. By the same token, we see something broad and we see something specific that will rear its head and become important. In terms of the specific, it’s Iran, and the question is to whether or not there will be some sort of an attack on Iran, whether or not the United States becomes engaged or is forced to become engaged in another Middle Eastern or Central Asian conflict. That has the potential to be a major and dominant issue with one twist, which is that back in 2004, on the top ten issues, John Kerry led George W. Bush on nine of those 10 issues, but on the issue of national security, George W. Bush led 67 to 24 on national security. That was enough for Bush.
This time around, to some degree, President Obama has neutralized that issue and then will be able to go before voters and say, “Hey, they started two wars, I’m ending two wars.” Whatever the reality may be, that’s – but on a broader level, here is the fundamental issue, and you’re already seeing it played out in the campaign. On one hand is the Republican argument of American exceptionalism: Nobody dictates to the most vital nation in the world what our foreign policy should be, we are the values leader, we are the superpower; versus the empire-in-decline model which states that the United States just can’t do this anymore, it’s draining our resources, we must rely multilaterally, allies, international organizations, regional superpowers, and so on.
Here is what is so vital to watch. If you take a look at voters over 50 years old, they are clearly, by 10 points, in the direction of America is the superpower. And the older they get, the more supportive they are of that concept. That’s John McCain’s America. Voters under 50, and then the younger they get, 10 points they swing in favor of the Empire in decline argument. These are two different Americas, and demographics will play as much of a role on that question as it will play in the election itself.
MODERATOR: A question right here.
QUESTION: Thank you. Anna Guaita, Il Messaggero from Rome, Italy. If I may, I have two questions.
MR. ZOGBY: You may, and especially if you invite me back to Rome and do one of these. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Actually I’m from Florence.
MR. ZOGBY: Oh.
QUESTION: My newspaper is from Rome. First question: Did you do any study on the followers of Ron Paul? Do you know where they’re going to vote? Are they going to disperse or what? And second question: There is a lot of talking in this election about the middle class and no one talks about poor people. Compassion seems to be really out of fashion, at least to me. Am I wrong? That’s it.
MR. ZOGBY: No. No, you’re not. First of all, the Ron Paul question is really a good one. I don’t believe that Ron Paul can deliver any of his supporters to Mitt Romney. I just believe his supporters are – that was a lukewarm endorsement. That was – we used to call that a gun-to-the-head endorsement – that if you brought the camera back, you could see the gun being held to his head. His hardcore support won’t vote. The real issue, I think, are the CENGAs – the college-educated, the young people. We saw a little bit of a bounce for Romney among young people when he announced Ryan. That may have been a little bit of a Medicare bounce. It’s very, very interesting. A Medicare bounce in the sense that young people, those who are leaning Libertarian, are the ones who are saying, “Look, my life is filled with debt and I have absolutely no path towards ever being able to pay that debt. Finally, somebody has talked about Medicare.”
But this is zero sum if there ever was zero sum. At the same time that we saw a little bit of a bump for Romney and Ryan among young people, we saw a little bit of a bump downward among voters over 65. And so I think everybody’s going to run away from the Medicare question. But by and large, I don’t see young people voting for Romney, really under any circumstances, any greater than John McCain, and that includes Ron Paul supporters. And then among the Libertarians, there’s a potential for the Libertarian candidate to get 5 or 6 percent, but those chances go down because he’s not going to participate in the debates, and the debates will be the two-man debates.
Now, poor people – I’ll keep this brief. President Obama helped consolidate his base for a while with the 1 percent versus the 99 percent, but the reality of the situation is that Americans don’t represent – don’t resent the 1 percent. Essentially, the real issue, I think, in this campaign are the new-haves versus the new-have-nots. And the new-haves are being defined as public employees who have great public benefits, including vacation time, healthcare that no one else gets, time off, sick leave, decent pay, who are being funded by people who look just like them in the mirror in the private sector, or formally the private sector, who are paying for all of that. And that’s where I think both parties are missing that issue.
In terms of poor people, Obama politically gets the benefit. He got the benefit in 2008. The question is: Can he energize that 15, 16 percent of Hispanics who are undecided? Can he energize the 4 or 5 percent of African Americans who are undecided? I think he probably will. I think he’ll do so more by scaring them about Romney than about making any more promises. But in terms of poverty as an issue, you saw the – one of the five myths – not my term – but one of the five myths in Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney’s campaign was ending the welfare-to-work option used against Obama, still trying to raise an issue that really goes back to the 80s and 90s.
That’s the extent of it, though.
QUESTION: Yes. Hi, Dr. Zogby. Joyce Karam with al-Hayat newspaper.
MR. ZOGBY: (In Arabic.)
QUESTION: Good to see you. Basically, which states can each of the candidates not afford to lose, and how much does the money edge help Romney in the next eight weeks?
MR. ZOGBY: The money edge – I’m a great believer – and this goes back to the question earlier from Kuwait News Agency – there is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to money. I’ve had the misfortune of being in Nevada and other battleground states. Your head’s going to explode, and here it is – it was July and August. Imagine. Where and how can all of that money possibly be spent? I don’t believe that that kind of money on that kind of level over that extended period of time matters. It’s going to be smart money rather than big money. That’s the question.
Now, in terms of the battleground states, let’s look at Romney. As we stand right now, there’s a question about Michigan. I really think Michigan is fairly safe for Obama. If that’s the case, then Obama figure has about 239 electoral votes out of 270, Romney has 191. All right. There are 12 states that are genuine battleground states, so let’s start with Florida’s 29. For somebody like Romney, losing Florida means he’s got to win a lot more of those states. For Obama, winning Florida is almost there, 267. I believe Al Gore got 267 without Florida, so Obama needs more than Florida.
If Romney loses Florida, he’s got to sweep the other states. And if he loses Florida, that – the likelihood of sweeping other states becomes less and less. What am I looking at? I don’t think we’re going to have any guesses. I think at 9 or 10 o’clock all we need to know is Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. Those are the big states. That’s the bulk of the questionable votes. We’ll know the pattern when those states come in.
Where are we at right now? Virtually tied. I have Obama leading in Florida right now by 5 points. That could be good news for him all the way around if that holds.
QUESTION: Martin Burkhart (ph), (inaudible) Denmark. I just want to follow up on what you said. You talk about a tie, and it sounds scary for those who were in Florida in 2000 because, I mean, a national tie is okay, but a tie in a place like Florida is scary. So do you foresee something like that happening in Florida? And what about Ohio? Ohio is the state outside of Florida where elections get decided.
Second question, just shortly. The creative class – I’ve heard that concept. I’ve read that you invented that concept. Could you tell us what it is? He’s behind Obama now compared to 2008, as you said. Why is that? Do you get a sense from that from the vote?
MR. ZOGBY: Yeah, yeah. Okay, two very difficult questions that I thank you very much for asking. Yeah, honestly, I can foresee a very close Florida and a very close Ohio. I mean, if I were to bet right now, I wouldn’t, frankly. But it all will come down to in Ohio conservative working-class voters, some of whom voted for Obama in 2008. The fly in the ointment is this time we have to ask: Are they even going to vote? Are expectations so jaded?
The sum total may very well be a depressed turnout. If that’s the case, then it’s really incumbent on Obama more so to get his own base out, because one of the things that I’m projecting overall is that McCain won 57 percent of the white vote in 2008, Romney is leading with about 57 percent of the white vote now, but the white vote could be decidedly less of a percentage of the total. And if that’s the case, there’s a real burden then on Romney.
But will it be scary? Yeah. I can tell you not only was 2000 scary, but 2004 – and I know this firsthand – the Bush family were catatonic at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, believing, as I believed frankly that they had lost the election. I wasn’t catatonic. I was here at the Foreign Press Center. (Laughter.)
But now your second question. I forgot.
QUESTION: The creative class.
MR. ZOGBY: Oh, the creative class. This is a group that Richard Florida says needs to be nurtured. It needs to be part of a growth economy. He says that in addition to the massive investments – biotechnology, infrastructure, nanotechnology – this is where you grow communities. Charlotte – Charlotte’s about banking, but Charlotte is about entrepreneurism. The same with the other creative class communities. This is how you nurture growth. This is how you look positive.
MR. ZOGBY: Oh yeah, it’s that sense of a growing economy, that sense of hope, the sense that this is favorable turf for entrepreneurs. There are some as well who are liberal who are a tad disappointed in the President.
MODERATOR: Right up here in front.
QUESTION: Thank you. Martin (inaudible), Switzerland, Sontag (ph) (inaudible). You mentioned that foreign policy had the potential of maybe exploding or becoming more important, and you mentioned Iran as a subject. Do you have any inkling as to where the American public might lean in this question? I mean, do they overall favor a tough approach or do they want to talk? I don’t know.
MR. ZOGBY: Boy, that is such a good question, and I do have an inkling although I haven’t polled on it in six weeks or so. But generally speaking, if you’re looking at a quick, feel-good hit, the American public will support it if it doesn’t last long and it doesn’t drain resources. As soon as you get into the fourth day – honestly, I’m not exaggerating. As soon as you get into the fourth day, then the questions start.
Can I take a minute just to tell you a little anecdote from my polling? After 9/11, I decided to do some daily tracking of American public opinion. We’d never had this situation before, and we started about eight days later and within a few days of our polling I asked – I got these kinds of responses: Do you support or not support a war on terror? Ninety-one said they support it. What if the war on terror lasts six months to a year? Seventy-seven percent support it. Now, we’re talking September 20th, 2001. What if it lasts one to two years? Fifty-seven percent support it.
Now, that’s just by way of context. Americans, I think, like most people, will support something if it’s quick and easy and finished. As soon as there’s a sense that it drags on, you start counting the lack of support.
QUESTION: Nick Harper, Feature Story News. You mentioned a few different voting blocs. How about the Jewish vote? Do you have any figures for that? Obviously, President Obama did fantastically well last time with the Jews, but this time round do you think that the election will be won or lost with the Jewish vote?
MR. ZOGBY: I’m glad you’re asking that because we’re in the field polling American Jews right now. And the reason why that’s important is because in a typical poll of 1,000 or 1,500, we’ll get too small a subset to determine. I can tell you two things, though, that I do know. One is that in those subsets and among my colleagues at Gallup who have polled 600 or 800 American Jews, that Obama has been polling 68/18 over Romney, meaning that it’s usually a 75/25 split.
Now, what I also know from my own polling is that when we poll on issues, Jews are the most reliable group that support gay marriages and all of the liberal social policies, the liberal positions on social policies, meaning that while Israel, of course, is important, it’s not always the defining issue. So I suspect – pure hunch – that maybe it won’t be 75/25 Obama, but it’ll be damn close.
MODERATOR: This one right here.
QUESTION: At a time when you say that the polls or elections are going very --
MODERATOR: Where are you from?
QUESTION: Lalit Jha from Press Trust of India. At a time when you say that the elections are going to be very close, what role in the voting pattern of ethnic communities like Indian Americans or Filipino Americans or Chinese American are going to play, although they are very small?
MR. ZOGBY: I’ve actually polled those groups in the past. Mainly leaning Democrat. Indian Americans, South Asian Americans in general. In fact, among various groups, the one that’s more reliably Republican are Vietnamese. In this instance, I really don’t have a handle on those groups. And one of the unfortunate things is that it’s a small subgroup anyway, and then I love Asian Pacific. It’s just too broad to get a handle. Generally, someone does commission us to do those smaller groups, and if they do, then we’ll get a handle on it. But I suspect that South Asians probably stay Democrat – South Asians do anyway.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) Barrera (ph), Notimex, Mexico. In the same line of questioning, I would like to go to the Latino vote. Right now I think President Obama is 60 percent of the support of the Latino voters. That’s below 68 percent, which I think was his highest mark. And the question is: Do you foresee any change on those numbers until the day of the election? And also, one of the would-be questions is numbers regarding how many Latinos will go out and vote.
MR. ZOGBY: Yeah. This 57 percent that I reported has been counter to the trend that I’ve been seeing the last three months. Generally, I have been seeing the President at about in the mid-60s, very close. I guess of equal importance that I’ve been seeing Romney at 24 and 25, which is well below.
So let’s try to disaggregate that for a moment, if we can. Do I see potential for Romney to grow among Latinos? It’s very hard to see that. I’ve done a lot of work among Latino voters over the last 15 years, and I can tell you, to the degree that history is relevant, that whenever anti-illegal immigration becomes a dominant issue, it’s translated as anti-immigration in the Latino communities and hence anti-Hispanic. And so these days you don’t get a second act. Everything that Romney said during the debates is right here and will be played out in Spanish and in English over and over and over again. I don’t see potential for growth.
For Obama, there’s plenty of opportunity to scare the bejesus out of – how does that translate? – scare the bejesus out of voters against Romney. But look at this historical trend. Hispanic voters were 4 percent of the total in 1992, 5 percent in 1996, 6 percent in 2000, 8 percent in 2004, 9.2 percent in 2008. Many are projecting, just demographically, we’re looking at perhaps 11 percent. That’s what I’m basing my polling assumptions on.
If it’s 11 percent, then Obama may very well be able to get a little bit of slack and not have to reach that 67 percent benchmark, because that’s a huge piece of the pie that then would be his. And really, what he has to ensure is to be able to just get that vote out, and I think he’s got a greater potential to do that than Romney does.
MODERATOR: We have time for one more question. We’ll take it there.
QUESTION: Hi, Emilio Velazquez (ph), Spanish newspaper IUC (ph). Will the idea of we have to vote Romney because if not we’ll be a failure for the first black person will important in this election?
MR. ZOGBY: Boy, that’s a good question. It’s one I’ve thought a lot about. Let me tell you I will go no further than the man who headed the security at Zogby International for 11 years, Levon Jackson (ph), who’s African American. He told me when unemployment was at 9.3 percent, he said if Obama does not get reelected there will never, ever be another African American president, which tells me that blacks are going to turn out to vote in huge numbers. I believe as well that liberals will – not for the very reason but among the same reasons. I believe that that may be one of the appeals to young voters who have this sense of diversity and planetary sensibility who told me seven years ago that America will look like Barack Obama –when most of America didn’t know who Barack Obama was – because he looks like us.
So I do believe that ultimately that may be one of the factors that brings out the liberal and progressive constituencies. When maybe perhaps all else fails, this is an appeal.
MODERATOR: Okay, John, thank you very much.
MR. ZOGBY: She has one question. Is that --
MODERATOR: We can take it if you have time.
MR. ZOGBY: I do.
MODERATOR: We have time.
QUESTION: Thank you. Silvia Pisani with La Nacion in Argentina. Which percentage of participation are you foreseeing in the elections, and what does it mean?
MR. ZOGBY: Last time it was – it approached 60 percent. In fact, it was 60 percent. I have reason to believe that that will be matched this year, even with people being turned off and perhaps especially young people being turned off. I think still the base, the number of – the growth in voter registration, the – ultimately the do-or-die kind of campaign – I call this, as I called 2004 – this is another Armageddon election. If the other side wins, this is the end of the world as we know it. That brings people out to vote.
Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: Thanks again, John. And we’ll have a transcript of this shortly. Thanks.
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