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June 16, 2008

Latino voters favor Obama over McCain, according to UW pollsters

A new national survey of Latino voters shows Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama with a nearly 3-to-1 advantage over his rival, Republican John McCain.

The survey found that 60 percent of Latinos planned to vote for Obama, compared to 23 percent for McCain, while 16 percent were undecided. Latino Decisions, a joint effort between Pacific Market Research and University of Washington political scientists Matt Barreto and Gary Segura, conducted the poll by telephone June 1-12. The poll’s margin of error is 3.5 percent.

Workers reached 800 Latino voters in 21 states. Among Democrats, the survey found that during primary contests, 57 percent had supported Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton versus 35 percent who supported Obama. During those months, many political observers questioned whether Obama would successfully woo Latino voters. The results of the survey clearly suggest the Latino vote was not anti-Obama during the primaries, and that going into the general election, he has easily built a large lead among Latino voters.

Obama’s lead among Latinos is consistent among those born in the U.S. and those born abroad. Among U.S.-born Latinos, Obama leads McCain 57 percent to 26 percent, and among foreign-born Latinos, 64 percent to 21 percent.

Likewise, Obama does well among Latinos across many states. In California, he leads 66 percent to 20 percent; in New York, 65 percent to 20 percent; in Texas, 61 percent to 22 percent. Combining data in the four southwestern states expected to be key battlegrounds — New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada — Obama leads McCain 57 percent to 31 percent among Latino voters. In Florida, where about half of Latino voters are Cuban-American, Obama has 43 percent to McCain’s 42 percent. 

In 2008, the Latino vote is expected to increase to 9 million or about 8 percent. By comparison, 7.6 million Latinos voted in 2004 and 5.9 million in 2000.

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For more information, contact Barreto at mbarreto@u.washington.edu or Segura at gmsegura@u.washington.edu. For more information about Latino Decisions, go to http://www.pacificmarketresearch.com/ld/index.html .