Analysis: How Romney's "Gift" Theory Misses the Mark


More than 1.4 million could be eligible for the deferred action program, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, but the latest data show only 180,000 have applied and 4,600 have been accepted. This is because the program is not easy to navigate.

The proposal, however, did appear to boost enthusiasm for President Obama. Fifty-eight percent of Latino voters nationally said it made them more enthusiastic about him, while 32 percent said it made no difference, according to Latino Decisions.

But Romney's stances on the subject also appeared to fuel his poor performance among Hispanics. Romney opposed the deferred action program, arguing that the president's action would make it more difficult to enact a legislative solution for undocumented youth. The Republican candidate also said he would end the program and also adopted tough positions on immigration enforcement, such as "self-deportation."

Fifty-seven percent of Latino voters said his immigration policies made them feel less enthusiastic about him, while 27 percent said they made no difference, per Latino Decisions.

On the call Romney admitted that he was not as good on the issues as Obama when it comes to Latinos, but reiterated that Obama's "gifts" and turnout effort helped him tremendously.

"What'd we do with the Hispanic community was not as popular, obviously, we talked tough on immigration and said we weren't going to give amnesty, and of course we were going to repeal Obamacare, so on the issues we were not good," he said. "And then of course they followed on not just giving the Hispanic community things they wanted, but a very good turnout effort."

In the end, one can agree or disagree over whether Obama's policies are the right ones. But Romney's worldview divides the "takers" and "makers" along demographic lines, and that may explain why he failed to offer an alternative vision of government that resonated among these voters.

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