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TribBlog: Most Latinos Still Support Democrats

Democratic candidates who fear waning support during what political analysts call an “anti-incumbent” atmosphere can still count on Latino voters, according to a Pew Hispanic Center study released today.

Democrats and Republicans have started their efforts to register voters for the 2010 election in Texas.

Nearly two thirds of registered Latino voters across the country, about 65 percent, said they would likely support a Democrat in their local U.S. House race, according to a study released today by the Pew Hispanic Center. The figure almost tripled the 22 percent who indicated support for a GOP candidate in the same race.

“If this pro-Democratic margin holds up on Election Day next month, it would be about as wide as in 2008, when Latinos supported Barack Obama for president over John McCain by 67 percent to 31 percent,” says Mark Hugo Lopez, the associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center.

The study also found that two out of every three Latino eligible voters live in Texas, Florida, New York or California.

Questions remain over the extent to which that opinion will translate into votes. The same study found that Latinos appear far less interested in the upcoming election than others. Only 32 percent of the Latino respondents said they have given next month’s contest “a lot of thought,” compared with 50 percent of all voters who said the same. Only 51 percent of Latino registered voters say they are "absolutely certain" they will cast a ballot, compared with 70 percent of all voters that said the same, Lopez says.

Nationwide, most Latinos still identify themselves as Democrats. Sixty-two percent of the respondents said they identify with or lean toward the Democratic party, compared with the 25 percent who lean more toward the GOP.

The results of the survey were based on telephone interviews with 1,375 Latino respondents ages 18 and older, from Aug. 17 through Sept. 19. It has a sampling error of 3.3 percentage points.

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