How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

More Latino voters support Obama, but will they vote?

Election Panorama

Grant Slater/KPCC

Voters fill out ballots in the June 5 presidential primary election at Estrada Court Community Center in Boyle Heights.

A majority of Latinos surveyed say they'd vote for President Barack Obama, but how many of them will make it to the polls? That's one takeaway question from a new Pew Hispanic Center survey, which found a large majority of respondents (69 percent vs. 21 percent) preferring Obama over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

At the same time, fewer Latinos are sure they'll vote. According to the report, 77 percent of Latino registered voters surveyed said they were “absolutely certain” they would vote this year, compared with 89 percent of registered voters in the general population as measured in a different Pew survey.

So what issues will get them to the polls? Unless the focus is on Latino voters in Arizona, it's not going to be immigration. According to the Pew survey, education, along with jobs and the economy, take top billing among Latino voters' concerns nationwide. Healthcare follows closely behind. Immigration, meanwhile, follows a relatively distant fifth, behind the federal budget deficit.

That said, 86 percent of Latino registered voters said they approve of the new deferred action program, an Obama administration program begun in August that allows young undocumented immigrants to apply for temporary legal status. Romney has made clear that while he'd honor the temporary reprieves already granted, he would not continue the program if elected.

Interestingly, Obama's wide lead among Latinos extends to nine battleground states that include Florida, whose Latino electorate has been traditionally conservative, but is changing as the Cuban American majority has been joined by immigrants from elsewhere in Latin America. More on that in a forthcoming post.

The entire report can be read here.

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