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Latinos likely to go Democrat, but less likely to vote

LOS ANGELES – Latinos, a key part of the Democratic coalition that helped put President Barack Obama in the White House, have the same lack of enthusiasm as other voters but will likely vote Democratic in this year’s midterm election, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Hispanic Center.

The survey, based on bilingual telephone interviews with 1,375 Latinos from Aug. 17 through Sept. 19, shows that 65 percent of registered Latino voters said they plan to support a Democrat while 22 percent said they prefer a Republican. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

This year, party identification has taken a back seat to the enthusiasm of the voters. Most polls show that Democrats have an enrollment edge but that the GOP is running ahead in generic ballots because its supporters say they are more motivated to vote, a trend fueled in part by conservative and libertarian anger over a difficult economy, lost jobs and unhappiness with the Obama administration for pushing the health insurance overhaul, Wall Street reform and taxpayer spending to stimulate the economy.

If anything, according to the Pew survey, Latinos appear to be less motivated than other voters.

About 32 percent said they have given this year’s election “quite a lot” of thought, compared to about half of all voters. About 51 percent of Latinos said they were “absolutely certain” they will vote, compared to 70 percent of all voters.

In 2008, Latinos supported Obama over Arizona Sen. John McCain, the GOP presidential candidate, by 67 percent to 31 percent. The current Pew survey found Latino registered voters approve of Obama’s job performance by 63 percent to 47 percent.


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