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Why the Hispanic vote won the U.S. election for Obama

Hispanic voters supported overwhelmingly the re-election of Barack Obama in several key states in the U.S. presidential election, according to a poll done on the even of the election. The growing number of Latinos in the United States played a key role in Obama winning another four years as president.

A poll late Tuesday night by CBS showed Obama won the Latino vote 69 percent to 29 percent. Many pundits believe Hispanic voters won the election for Obama.

Acclaimed Miami Herald columnist Andrés Oppenheimer tweeted after Obama’s win that “Romney thought he could win without the Latino vote. Big Mistake!” He added that Romney received the lowest vote among Latinos in two decades.

In Florida, for example, 58 percent of Hispanic voters voted for Obama compared to 40 percent for Romney. In Virginia 66 percent of Latinos went for the president, opposed to 31 percent for his rival, according to a survey by Latino Decisions and the group Hispanic media ImpreMedia.

Latino voters are critical in Florida, where the state remains too close to call. Hispanics make up 17.4 percent of the population. They make up 2.3 percent in Virginia, another state that’s close to call. Both states likely will be won by Obama, signaling that the Democrats favorable policies toward Latinos helped deliver the election to Obama. 

More so, Republican comments seemed to alienate foreign voters. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was criticized for pushing the platform of “self-deportation” to force illegal immigrants out of the country.

The poll was conducted in Spanish and English from Nov. 1 to 5 with some 5,600 Hispanic voters, who reported they had voted early or would vote for Obama on Tuesday. 

In other states where Obama defeated Romney, the president won a significant portion of the Latin vote. In Ohio (where Hispanics make up 1.5 percent of the population), Hispanic voters favored Obama 82 percent to 17 percent. In Colorado (12.4 percent Latino), Obama won the Hispanic vote 87 percent to 10 percent. 

A record 24 million Latinos were registered to vote this year, although the polling company suggested that only about half actually would cast a vote.

Tico Times reporter Matt Levin contributed to this report.

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