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Latest NV Latino Poll: 78% Support for the President

Stock photo of President Obama
Stock photo of President Obama
October 5, 2012

LAS VEGAS - A new survey of Latino voters finds President Obama is well in front of Republican challenger Mitt Romney, and actions the president took this summer appear to be a big factor.

Obama has solidified his lead with 78 percent support among Latino voters in Nevada compared with 17 percent for Romney, says associate professor David Damore at the University of Nevada. Obama's decision this summer to defer immigration actions for as many as 1.4 million younger immigrant students seems to be a major factor, Damore says.

"Then we see a tremendous jump in voter enthusiasm over the course of the summer; and what we find in our data is that half of our sample in Nevada knows someone who could benefit from that program."

The poll, released Thursday afternoon by a live-streamed panel at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, also shows Democratic Senate candidate Shelley Berkley in the lead, but by a smaller margin. Berkley has 58 percent support among Latino voters versus 26 percent for Republican contender Dean Heller.

Damore says the rejection of the Romney candidacy by so many Nevada Latinos is a sign that the Republican Party will need to recalibrate its approach to issues such as immigration reform, if it wants to attract this growing portion of the electorate in Nevada.

"You look at national polling, looking at most important problems, immigration just simply does not come up; but among Latino voters, it's the No. 2 decision right behind the economy - and when the Republicans have moved so far right on that issue, they've left a real opening for the Democrats."

About 67 percent of Nevada Latino voters said they were less enthusiastic about Romney as a result of his comments that undocumented immigrants should self-deport.

The poll of 400 Latino voters registered in Nevada was conducted Sept. 22-28 by Latino Decisions for America's Voice. Full poll results are online at latinodecisions.com.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV