More Latinos May Have Voted For Obama Than Previously Thought, New Survey Says

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

Support for Barack Obama in the presidential election among Hispanic voters may have been even higher than exit polls have indicated. According to a new poll released Thursday by ImpreMedia, the country’s largest Spanish-language newspaper chain, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), Obama’s margin over John McCain may have exceeded the 2-to-1 ratio indicated by earlier surveys.

Seventy-two percent of Latino voters chose the Democrat, said the poll, which surveyed 800 Latino registered voters between November 7 and 14 “in the 21 states with the largest Latino voter populations, and accounting for 93 percent of the Latino electorate,” according to NALEO’s press release.

That figure is higher than the 67 percent announced after Election Day — the difference, according to La Opinion‘s Pilar Marrero, lies in the fact that this survey included early and absentee voters who accounted for “forty percent of Latino voters.”

The poll also seems to confirm that turnout among Latinos was high: 92 percent of registered Latinos surveyed said they voted in this election. Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the NALEO Educational Fund said in the press release,

The record turnout among Latinos solidifies this emerging electorate as an important voting bloc among U.S. voters. The survey also finds that naturalized immigrant voters and first time voters played a significant role in shaping the Latino vote.

However, the Democratic Party should heed the message of Latino voters in our survey: with their strong support of President-elect Obama and his party, come high expectations.

Vargas was referring to the fact that nearly 70% of those surveyed said they expect the Latino community to see improvements under the Obama administration. “These hopes are even higher among immigrant voters with 3 out of every 4 expecting something better,” the release said.

“Latino voters really expect very concrete things in exchange for their support,” NALEO analyst Efrain Escobedo told La Opinión.

The study also found that the highest levels of support for Obama were among immigrant voters –76 percent chose him — and second generation children of immigrants, among whom 80 percent voted for the Democratic presidential candidate.

While more than half want Obama to address immigration in his first year in office, the economy is by far the top issue for most Latino voters interviewed: 67 percent said it was priority number one.

[You can download a pdf with the full survey results here.]

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