I don’t know if 51% of Hispanics planning on voting in this election is better or worse for the Democrats than in previous elections, but the article is pitched as “yet another problem for the Democrats”. It is not until the 18th paragraph that the article notes that “Latinos have usually voted in lower percentages than non-Latinos, but the current gap between their enthusiasm to vote and that of the general population is wider than in the last midterm election”. To me, this is the crux of the issue, and unfortunately there is no data here.
Latino Americans are disproportionately Democratic and disproportionately young. It has been well-reported that Democrats and younger voters are less enthusiastic about this election than the past midterm election. In the absence of more conclusive data, it seems reasonable to assume that Latino voting enthusiasm is about what you’d expect from a young, heavily Democratic group that has a history of below-average (relative to the rest of the population) turn-out.
And of course there’s one other thing: the 43 point gap between Democrats and Republicans is even larger than the 36 point margin by which Obama won the Latino vote; in particular, only 22% of Latinos say they plan to vote for a Republican (31% went for McCain). It could well be that Republican-leaning Latinos will just stay home (I think that’s one pretty reasonable interpretation of the data). It’s hard to see how that hurts Democrats.
Update. Also too: if I were a Republican strategist, I’d be shitting bricks over the fact that, even in a political environment where Republicans are polling 5-10 points better than they did in 2008, Republicans have lost even more ground among one of the country’s fastest growing demographics. If Democrats continue to win 2/3 of the Latino vote, they will continue to win presidential elections.