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Will Latinos elect the next president?

In its latest issue due out on newsstands tomorrow, TIME magazine states on its cover: "Why Latinos will pick the next president."

Will they? Demographic changes over the last decade suggest that Latinos will at least have heavy sway in the November election, not only in stronghold states like California, but especially in swing states like Nevada, Colorado, and the emerging battleground state of Arizona.

TIME has posted an introduction to the story, available online to subscribers, along with a link to an interview with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, whose recent requests that fellow Republicans tone down their immigration rhetoric has met with some skepticism. There's also a nice gallery of portraits of a few of Arizona's Latinos voters, taken in Phoenix. An excerpt from

For the Obama campaign nationwide, "expanding the electorate" increasingly means "expanding the Latino electorate." If Obama is able to win heavily-Latino Western states like Nevada, Colorado and Arizona, he could still win in the electoral college even if he loses historically key states in the industrial Midwest like Ohio and Wisconsin. "If we do our grassroots stuff right on the ground in all these Western states, which we will, because it"s something we are good at," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told me, "we could seriously change the outcome."

At the same time, Republicans have generally done a dismal job through the primary of appealing to Latino voters. George W. Bush won more than 40% of the community in 2004, but in a recent Latino Decisions poll conducted for Univision, 72% of Latinos said the GOP either did not care about their support or was hostile to their community. The 27% who sensed hostility represented a seven point increase from April of 2011, when the same pollsters asked the question. "Conservatives have not realized how their tone and rhetoric has turned people off," says Jennifer Korn, who led George W. Bush"s Latino outreach effort in 2004.

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