Poll: Latinos Finally Get Excited About Voting

Latino voters are now more excited about voting in 2012 than in 2008: poll

— -- Enthusiasm among Latino voters has been one of the most pivotal factors of this campaign.

With deportations at record levels and the economy struggling to recover, survey after survey over the past year has shown enthusiasm down from where it was during President Obama's victory in 2008.

If enthusiasm is an indicator of peoples' likelihood to show up on Election Day, then the signs were pointing to a disappointing level of turnout, which could have hurt Obama's chances of prevailing in key battleground states such as Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia, and thus winning reelection.

But that could be changing.

Forty-four percent of Latino voters in a new Latino Decisions/impreMedia tracking poll say they are more excited about voting this year than they were in 2008, compared to 29 percent who say they were more enthusiatic about voting four years ago. The opposite was true before the party conventions five weeks ago; 40 percent said they were more excited about voting in 2008 and 37 percent said that about 2012.

And compared to November of last year, the percentage of Latinos who say they are very excited about voting is up by 12 percentage points.

In other words: Latino voters are now saying they are more excited about this election than the last one, meaning they are looking ahead and getting more enthusiastic about voting instead of dwelling on the 2008 campaign.

That would appear to be good news for President Obama. Obama's two-to-one (plus) margin of Latino support over former Gov. Mitt Rommney has held steady for some time (It was 69-24 percent in this poll). No Republican candidate has won a presidential election in the past four elections with such low Latino support.

With that margin unlikely to change, more Latinos showing up to vote could give President Obama a crucial edge.

Whether the shift is because of Obama's decision on deferred action, the plethora of "Hispandering," or just heightened interest in politics due to the proximity of Election Day these appear to be good numbers for the president.

But a few caveats remain. These numbers are only from one survey, so we have yet to see a trend developing based on other polling data. Also, since the poll is a national survey, we can't tell if the boost is coming from voters in Florida -- a state that includes many GOP-leaning Cuban-American voters, Mexican-American voters from a state like Colorado who lean left, or from a state like California that contains a huge amount of Latino voters but is not in play.

Still, with the election just 43 days away, the "enthusiasm gap" we have observed since the beginning of the campaign could be on the verge of disappearing.

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