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Poll: Latino Voters Expect Great Things from Obama

La Opinin, News Digest, Posted: Nov 20, 2008

Latino voters, who turned out in record numbers on Election Day to support Barack Obama, also have very high expectations for his presidency, according to a national bilingual poll by ImpreMedia and the NALEO Educational Fund. The poll, conducted by Latino Decisions between Nov. 6 and Nov. 13, offers an in-depth look at the hopes, expectations and key concerns of Latino voters. Some 800 Latino registered voters were surveyed, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent. These are some of the key findings:

The Latino Vote at the Polls
Immigrant voters and new voters comprised a sizeable share of the Latino vote this November. Nearly half (46 percent) of Latino voters were born outside of the United States or in Puerto Rico. One in every four (26 percent) Latino voters this election was voting in a presidential election for the very first time.

Partisanship and Candidate Choice
Nearly three in four Latino registered voters in 2008 identified themselves as strong partisans (70 percent). Among Latino registered voters 61 percent identified as Democrats, 17 percent Republicans, and 14 percent Independents. But only 8 percent of Latinos say they believe the Republican Party has more concern for the Latino community. Twenty-seven percent of Latino voters believe neither party is more concerned about the Latino community. This skepticism was more pronounced among Spanish speakers, where 31 percent believe there is no difference between either party in concern for Latinos.

Latino support for President-elect Barack Obama may have been higher than initially reported in exit poll data: 72 percent of Latino voters said they voted for Barack Obama and 25 percent reported voting for John McCain. Candidate support did vary by demographic group, with second-generation children of immigrants and Spanish speakers showing the strongest support for Obama, nearly 80 percent. John McCain received his strongest support, about one-third of the vote (34 percent), among third generation Latinos.

Post-Election Expectations and Priorities
Nearly two-thirds of Latino voters (67 percent) in this Novembers election say fixing the economy is the most important issue they expect the new president and Congress to address. The economy ranked over other prevalent issues like health care (5 percent), immigration (6 percent), and the war in Iraq (6 percent).

However, expectations are still high when it comes to dealing with immigration reform. Overall, 68 percent of voters say that it is extremely important (41 percent) or very important (27 percent) for the immigration issue to be addressed within the first year of the new Democratic government.

Strong support for the president-elect and the new Democratic Congress comes with high expectations on the part of Latinos to see their communities do better over the next four years. Nearly 70 percent of Latino voters expect the situation for Latinos to improve under the Obama administration. Among immigrants these hopes are higher, with three of every four immigrant voters expecting their situation to improve under President Barack Obama.

Related Articles:

Editorial: It's Time for Obama to Come through for Latinos

Ethnic Media Voices Weigh in on Obama Administration

Economy and Immigration Drive Ethnic Vote, Say Editors

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