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Univision News poll: Obama holds advantage with Latino voters, leaving GOP with uphill battle

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President Obama leads his chief GOP rivals by two-to-one margins among Latino voters, according to a new Univision News/Latino Decisions poll. But it’s far from certain that Latinos will turn out to vote for him in the same proportions they did in 2008. (Getty Images)

By MATTHEW JAFFE and JORDAN FABIAN
Channel: PoliticsEconomics, Immigration

Despite loud complaints from Latinos about high unemployment and unfulfilled campaign promises on immigration, President Obama is well situated to repeat his strong performance with Latino voters in 2012.

Obama holds leads over the top three Republican presidential candidates in a new poll conducted by Latino Decisions for Univision News, with the president enjoying far wider advantages among Latino voters, an area of strength that could ultimately prove crucial come next year’s election.

According to the poll released Tuesday — one year before Election Day 2012 — registered Latino voters in the 21 states with the largest Latino populations prefer Obama over the top three GOP presidential candidates, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, and Rick Perry by two-to-one margins. The president is up 65 percent to 22 percent on Cain, 67 percent to 24 percent on Romney, and a whopping 68 percent to 21 percent on Perry.

That will come as welcome news to the White House as the president prepares for what is shaping up to be a difficult reelection campaign. Obama’s numbers in the Univision News poll equal his performance with Latinos in 2008, when he won over two-thirds of the vote. Each GOP contender received less than the approximately 31 percent Latino support the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), received.

Latinos support Obama in greater numbers than the general voting public. Among registered voters nationwide, Obama holds the largest lead over Perry at 10 percent, with his edge over Romney at 9 percent. Cain, meanwhile, is within 6 percent of the president.

“There’s a lot of good news for the president in this poll,” Gary Segura, a researcher at Latino Decisions and professor of political science at Stanford University, said in a phone interview. “He polls 9 percentage points ahead of his leading rivals on the other side.”

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