Efforts to court the Latino vote in this year’s election could have a negative impact with other voters, according to a study cited by The Huffington Post.
The study, which focused on the 2008 presidential contest between Barack Obama and John McCain, found the candidates lost supporters in the black and white communities after test subjects watched an English-language commercial featuring a Latino.
“Some voters see this advertising as sort of threatening,” said Matt Barreto, an Associate Professor at the University of Washington who was part of the team behind the study. “They think, ‘Where is my group? Why aren’t they talking to me?”
According to Politico, the Obama campaign has already spent more than $2 million advertising on Spanish-language radio and television. Four years ago, Obama and the Democratic National Committee spent $20 million in reaching out to Latino voters.
Meanwhile, Obama’s presumptive challenger, Mitt Romney, has spent $110,000 on Spanish-language advertising this year, though the Spanish-language versions of those ads, “Day One” and “Doing Fine,” have been criticized for being translated according to English grammar rules.
“On a first date, you try to look your best, and tell your story in a compelling way, and take your date to a nice restaurant. He’s not doing any of that,” Huffington Post blogger Liliana Gil said. “We feel like an afterthought. He really missed an opportunity here.”
The study is due for publication later this year.
Watch Latino-themed ads from both the Obama and Romney campaigns below.
[image via Shutterstock]