FIU/Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald poll: Obama losing ground among Latinos in Florida; holds wide margin nationally

Oct 15, 2012, 07:51 ET from Florida International University

MIAMI, Oct. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In swing state Florida, where the Latino vote could be crucial to a win by either presidential candidate, Latino voters are nearly split, according to an FIU/Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald poll of likely Latino voters in the United States released today.

However, nationally, three out of four Latino voters back President Barack Obama over Republican candidate Gov. Mitt Romney. A panel of FIU experts will discuss the results, and the importance of Latinos in the presidential election, today at 10 a.m. at Florida International University in Miami. The discussion will be streamed live on Facebook, Ustream and Twitter, by using #FIULatVote.

Of the 720 Latino voters surveyed in Florida, Obama leads Romney by six points, while 4.7 percent of respondents indicated they were undecided. The poll's margin of error is 3.5 percent. Just over half of the respondents, or 50.7 percent, answered that Obama has not fulfilled his promises to the U.S. Hispanic community. And the majority—54 percent—answered that they are not better off than they were four years ago.   

Nationally, 66 percent of the 1,000 Latino voters polled would vote for Obama if the election were held today. In addition, the majority—62 percent—responded that they are better off today than they were four years ago. Across all countries of origin except Cuba, Latinos responding to the survey said that Obama is better suited to handle the economy, immigration reform and foreign policy.

Latinos make up the country's largest minority and about 9 percent of the U.S. electorate.

"Latinos have more power than ever this election," said FIU Political Science Professor Eduardo Gamarra, who conducted the poll with the assistance of Newlink Group, a Miami-based consulting firm. "If there is a strong voter turnout of Latinos in November, they could have significant influence on the outcome of the election."

For a video of Gamarra explaining the importance of Latinos, click here.

The poll was conducted on Oct. 10 and 11 by telephone.  The full results of the national survey can be found here. The Florida poll can be found here.

JP Renaud

SOURCE Florida International University