Michael Barone

In the 2012 campaign, this translated into support for Obamacare. Obama campaign strategists noted that the law was unpopular among voters generally, but evoked very positive responses from Hispanics.

So the Obama campaign, generally mum on Obamacare in English, ran Obamacare spots in Spanish-language media.

The numbers seem to look different now. Since the Obamacare rollout, Gallup's numbers show that the president's job approval has declined more among Hispanics -- 23 percent -- than among any other demographic group.

If Hispanics had difficulty, like everyone else, in using the English-language Obamacare website, they had even more difficulty with the Spanish-language version, which wasn't operative at all for weeks.

Hispanics with roots in societies where government is crony-ridden and corrupt may have expected government that would be trustworthy and efficient in the United States. Hey, who doesn't want free stuff from such a government?

But practice proved different. The Obamacare rollout -- just like the government programs that encouraged home mortgages for not necessarily creditworthy Hispanics -- has not produced the favorable results they may have expected.

By my estimate, about one-third of the homeowners foreclosed on in the years just after the housing price collapse were Hispanics. Their dreams of accumulating wealth through ever-rising house prices were shattered.

And the dreams of getting subsidized health insurance through a website just as efficient as Amazon.com seem to be getting shattered too. Government in the United States is beginning to look as unreliable as government has traditionally been south of the border.

People tend to form their political attitudes over the years as they experience how political parties' policies work out in practice. People who have been voting for many years tend to have fixed attitudes because they already have plenty of experience, and one new episode doesn't usually make much difference.

Most Hispanic voters, in contrast, don't have years of experience voting in the United States. They may be more susceptible to revising their attitudes in light of recent events.

Which is to say, the Hispanic vote is up for grabs.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM