KISSIMMEE -- Manuel Santiago was out of work when Barack Obama ran for president in 2008 and the promise of a better future lured him to the polls.
Today, Santiago delivers part time for Pizza Hut.
“It’s not enough. I’m just getting by,” the brawny 40-year-old said on a recent afternoon.
This Orlando suburb has rapidly grown in the past decade, mostly due to an influx of Puerto Ricans like Santiago, and it will be one of the most contested areas of Florida in the 2012 election.
Some here say the president needs more time. “I’m already at the point where I don’t know if I can give him more time,” Santiago said.
Across Florida — indeed, the country — stories like Santiago’s are common. Collectively, they represent a major challenge to Obama, who won two-thirds of the Hispanic vote in 2008 but has seen his standing drop precipitously among this increasingly powerful voter bloc.
Obama’s approval rating is 49 percent among Hispanics, down from 60 percent in January and far from its 82 percent peak in May 2009.