Jose Fuentes, a co-chairman of Mitt Romney's Hispanic leadership team, has a fairly specific goal in mind when it comes Latino voters. "Our goal is to do better than four years ago and the McCain campaign did -- our goal is to hit 38 percent with the Hispanic vote," Fuentes said.
So, as far as Team Romney is concerned, McCain/Palin won 31% of the Latino vote in 2008, and Romney/Ryan believes it needs to do significantly better.
At this point, they're not close to their goal.
President Barack Obama continues to lead presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney by wide margins with Latinos, according to the latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Telemundo poll.
Hispanics, the largest-growing segment of the U.S. population over the past decade, said they preferred Obama over Romney in the presidential race, 63 to 28 percent.
That margin has been relatively consistent since May when the poll started sampling additional Latino interviews.
For what it's worth, while Romney probably won't be pleased by this 35-point deficit, this is better than the 48-point gap shown in a recent Latino Decisions poll.
In either case, though, the Republican campaign is nowhere near its stated target.
What's less clear to me is how, exactly, Romney plans to make this better.
On the one hand, we see President Obama, who enjoys a 59% approval rating among Latinos, and who's implementing the goals of the DREAM Act. On the other hand, we see Romney deliberately antagonizing Latinos -- endorsing "self-deportation," vowing to veto the DREAM Act, palling around with Pete Wilson and Kris Kobach, etc.
Against this backdrop, the official Republican Party platform throws its support to Arizona-style "papers please" measure, saying such laws should be "encouraged, not attacked."
What's the plan to boost Latino support for the GOP ticket significantly above McCain's?