Mitt Romney has said if Republicans don't get more popular among Latinos, they're "doomed." So far, he's still not too popular. Plus, President Obama's leading in three swing states, and Massachusetts voters don't particularly care who Elizabeth Warren's great-great-great grandmother was. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.
Findings: Obama is leading Romney among Latino registered voters by 61 percent to 27 percent. Only 22 percent of those voters see the Republican Party positively; only 26 percent see Romney positively.
Pollster: Wall Street Journal/ NBC News/ Telemundo
Methodology: The margin of error is +/- 7 percent.
Why it matters: Because the Latino population is growing so fast, Republicans have to become more popular with Latino voters or risk electoral "doom," in the words of Romney himself. (If the Republican nominee in the 2020 election gets the same percentages among minority voters that John McCain got, he or she will lose by 14 percentage points, instead of 7.) The Los Angeles Times' Paul West writes that the closer Romney gets to 40 percent of the Latino vote, the better his chances are at winning this fall. But right now, Romney is one of the worst-performing Republicans among Latinos in the last 35 years.
Caveat: The poll finds Latino voters are less interested in the election than the rest of the American public. Perhaps they'll change their minds as they begin to tune in.
Findings: Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren are nearly tied in the Massachusetts Senate race, with Brown getting 48 percent and Warren getting 47 percent.
Pollster: Suffolk University/ 7NEWS
Methodology: Survey of 600 likely Massachusetts voters from May 20 to May 22. The margin of error is +/- 4 percent.
Why it matters: Warren has been the subject of obsessive scrutiny from conservatives for weeks over her disputed Native American heritage. Massachusetts Republicans accuse Warren of claiming she was a minority to get ahead in academia. But voters are less obsessed with the subject. Though 72 percent of voters are familiar with the controversy, 69 percent say it's not significant. It doesn't seem to have hurt Warren much, either. In February, the same poll showed Brown with 49 percent of the vote to Warren's 40 percent. Her favorability rating has climbed 8 percentage points.
Caveat: Warren's attempts to tie Brown to Wall Street haven't stuck either. The poll found that only 33 percent of likely voters say a vote for Brown is a vote for Wall Street, while a majority, 55 percent, disagree.
Findings: Obama leads Romney in Ohio (48 percent to 42 percent), Florida, and Virginia (both 48 percent to 44 percent). But his lead is shrinking: Romney has halved the 12-point lead Obama had Ohio in March. Obama's lead in Virginia has shrunk even more. It was 17 points in March, according to the poll.
Pollster: NBC News/ Marist
Methodology: The survey was conducted between May 17 and May 20. The poll interviewed 1,078 registered voters in Florida, 1,103 registered voters in Ohio, and 1,076 registered voters in Virginia. All three have a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
Why it matters: NBC attributes Obama's strong standing in these three states to their relatively strong economies. Majorities think Obama inherited bad economic conditions and think the worst of the recession is behind them. The unemployment rates in most battleground states is lower than the national average, Bloomberg's Mike Dorning explained Wednesday. Ohio, for example, is down to 7.4 percent unemployment thanks to growth in the manufacturing and energy industries. Demand for cars is up, so Honda is adding another shift at one of its Ohio plants, while Chrysler is canceling its annual two-week shutdown this summer to keep up with demand.
Caveat: A Quinnipiac poll Wednesday found Romney ahead of Obama in Florida by 47 percent to 41 percent. The Real Clear Politics polling average in that state shows Romney with a 0.5-point lead. The average in Ohio is a 4.9-point lead for Obama, and in Virginia, it's a 2.5 percent lead for Obama.
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This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.