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Obama Leads by Wide Margins Among Latinos, but Florida in Play for GOP, poll says

from ABC News and Univision ....


Only nine months from Election Day, Latino voters — the nation’s fastest-growing voting bloc — favor President Obama over all the Republican candidates by a wide margin, according to a new poll conducted by Latino Decisions for Univision News and ABC News, a welcome boost for a White House facing a difficult reelection fight.

While Latinos tend to side with Democrats — and voted for Obama by a two-to-one margin in 2008 — they also have a prominent role to play in the upcoming GOP nominating contests in Nevada and, more immediately, in Florida, which votes on Jan. 31.

In the Sunshine State, where about one in 10 likely Republican primary voters is Latino, 35 percent of Hispanic Republicans say they would vote for Mitt Romney, while only 20 percent support Newt Gingrich, with 21 percent undecided, according to the poll.

Florida’s GOP primary is closed, meaning one must be a registered Republican in order to participate.

Thus far, Gingrich’s shocking victory in Saturday’s South Carolina primary has not triggered a significant boost in his Latino support in Florida. In the final days of polling, Sunday and Monday, Gingrich’s Latino support in Florida only increased by 2 percentage points.

“I’m not seeing a significant bounce for Gingrich out of South Carolina in the sense that it’s not like he has passed Romney or anything,” said Gary Segura, a principal at Latino Decisions. “Obviously Gingrich is doing much better than he was in November — then he was at 4 percent nationally, now he’s at 15.”

Romney’s support appears to be driven by the state’s most influential Latino Republican voting bloc, Cuban-Americans. Among Florida Latinos of Cuban origin — a group that constitutes around 540,000 of the state’s 1.5 million Latino voters — Romney leads Gingrich by 32 points, 49 percent to 17 percent.