FIU/Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald poll: Latino voters in Florida still in flux

Cuban-Americans are the only Latino subgroup keeping President Barack Obama from solidly winning the Latino vote in Florida—and potentially carrying the entire state.

But a Florida International University/Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald poll published today indicates that Republican candidate Gov. Mitt Romney is attracting a growing number of Latino voters, notably of Mexican origin. According to the poll, Obama has a slim lead of 51 percent to 47 percent among likely Latino voters in Florida.

“With only days to go before the election, we are still seeing the Latino vote shift in Florida,” said Eduardo Gamarra, a professor at FIU’s School of International and Public Affairs who conducted the poll with the assistance of consulting firm Newlink Group.

Gamarra indicated that this poll is unique in that it breaks down Latino voter intention by country of origin. Nationally, Latinos represent about 9 percent of the electorate; in Florida, Latinos are about 13 percent of the voters.

An earlier poll conducted Oct. 10 and 11 of 720 likely voters in Florida showed that 62.2 percent of respondents of Mexican origin supported Obama. But the latest poll, of 1,000 likely Latino voters conducted Oct. 23 and 24, shows a loss of about 8 percentage points among voters of Mexican origin.

“Cuban-Americans are still the most disciplined, the most loyal Republican voters,” Gamarra said. “Only 50 percent of the rest of Latino voters actually vote and they are less committed to a party.”

A separate FIU/Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald national poll of likely Latino voters also released today shows Obama holding a strong lead over Romney, with 69 percent of respondents indicating they would vote for the president.

The bilingual Florida poll has an error margin of 2.9 percentage points. The national poll had an error margin of 3.1 percentage points.

The polls also asked which candidate would be better suited to handle the economy, immigration reform and foreign policy. Nationally, Obama leads among Latino voters in all three categories; he leads in Florida, too, except among Cuban-Americans.

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