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Obama opens up big lead in poll of Latino voters

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama has a 70-22 percent lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney among Latino voters, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

The Latino Decisions national survey comes about a month after both candidates spoke to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, and have made strong pitches for the Hispanic vote.

Romney Wednesday unveiled a new Spanish language ad, and both he and Obama have intense efforts in states with large Latino populations--often swing states where the vote could determine the close outcome.

Obama had failed to stir great enthusiasm among many Latino voters until recently. But his June 15 directive allowing many younger undocumented workers to stay in this country gave him a boost.

The poll found that among foreign-born, naturalized citizens Obama leads 72-19 percent, and among U.S.-born Latinos he leads 69-25 percent.

Also, the poll said, "two concerns for Romney may that 13 percent of self-identified Latino Republicans say they will cross-over and vote for Obama and 60 percent of Independents plan to vote for Obama.  In contrast only 2 percent of Democrats say they plan to vote for Romney."

"The lingering question now, is not whether Obama will win the Latino vote – he is poised to win it big, but rather whether Latino voter turnout matches or exceeds the record levels in 2008, or if Latino enthusiasm will be low and turnout mediocre at best," a poll analysis said. "Even with a big margin among Latinos, if turnout is low Obama could fare poorly in many battleground states where Latinos are a large portion of the electorate."

The poll surveyed 504 people from July 7 to 16. Margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.


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