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How Latinos may decide the election

The CNN website has a featured essay from Shannon K. O’Neil, a senior fellow for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, in which she writes about how Latinos may decide the election.

It's not a new concept, but chances are that if this happens, it will rest with Latino voters in key states. There are an estimated 24 million Latinos in the United States who are eligible to vote, but it's uncertain how strong their overall turnout will be. However, there are certain places where they can tip the balance. O'Neil writes:

In the swing states of Colorado, Nevada, and Florida, Hispanics make up between 13 and 16 percent of the voting population. Looking at past history and current polling preferences, these demographics strongly support the president over his Republican rival. In Nevada a whopping 78 percent of Latinos prefer Obama to Romney, in Colorado it’s 74 percent, and even in more conservative Florida it is 61 percent. Obama’s current lead in these three states (between 1.4 and 3.9 percent) reflects in large part these votes.

These three states matter. As a New York Times interactive electoral map illustrates (you can create your own scenarios here), if Colorado, Nevada, and especially Florida swing to Obama (and assuming he prevails in “solid” and “probable” democratic-leaning states), he wins. By contrast, Romney must triumph in these battleground states to have a chance. 

Read the entire essay here.