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Obama gets Hispanic support: Poll

world Updated: Sep 10, 2008 13:42 IST

Some nine million Hispanics are eligible to vote in the Nov 4 presidential elections, and in four crucial states Latinos favour Democrat Barack Obama, EFE reported on Wednesday quoting a survey.

The majority of the possible Hispanic voters in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado favour Obama, while likely Latino voters in Florida appear about evenly divided between the Illinois senator and Republican nominee John McCain, pollster Sergio Bendixen said.

The deciding factor for Hispanic votes is the candidates' stand on immigration laws which are of great importance for Latino voters, and the survey found Hispanics largely favour Obama on the issue, the report said.

"There are about nine million Hispanics who will be able to vote in November, and a third of them will be voting for the first time," Walter Ulloa, president of Entravision entertainment channel, which sponsored the poll, said.

"We believe that it's very important for the presidential candidates and the candidates for legislative posts not only to concern themselves with matters that are important to Hispanics, but also to speak our language," Ulloa said in Washington at the annual Public Policy Conference of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

Latinos comprise 15 per cent of the US population but they represent only nine percent of eligible voters.

According to the census bureau, in the 2004 elections only 47.2 per cent of Hispanics registered to vote as compared with 63.8 per cent of eligible voters.

Bendixen's Miami-based firm interviewed 2,000 people in Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada Aug 6-14.

In New Mexico, Hispanics represent 35 per cent of the electorate, in Florida 14 per cent, in Nevada 12 per cent and in Colorado 11 percent, Bendixen said.

According to the survey carried out last month, Obama is fairly certain to carry California with the biggest Latino population while the Republicans seem to have a larger Hispanic voter base in Texas, which ranks second in terms of population of Hispanic origin.

In Nevada, 60 per cent of the likely Hispanic voters believe that Obama will do a better job with reforming immigration laws.

In New Mexico and Colorado, 52 per cent of Hispanic voters have that expectation, while in Florida 42 per cent favour Obama's stand on immigration and 37 percent believe McCain will do a better job on that issue.