A woman walks past the entrance to National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Annual Conference on June 21 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Latino voters could play a key role in determining the winners of swing states Florida, Colorado and Nevada in the Nov. 6 U.S. Presidential Election. (Photo : Reuters)
In a U.S. presidential election as closely fought as the one between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, 44 electoral votes is a huge number that could mean winning the White House for either one.
Those votes combined represent Florida, Colorado, and Nevada-three key swing states where Latino voters could make an impact in the final voting results for the race to the presidency.
With just under three weeks left until the Nov. 6 elections, both the Obama and Romney campaigns are hitting the ground hard in all three states to try to seal the deal for their respective sides.
According to the latest polls by Real Clear Politics, President Obama is ahead of Romney in Nevada by a thin lead of three percentage points, 49.0 percent to 46.0 percent, while Romney's slender 2.6 percent lead in the Florida polls is holding at 49.3 percent over Obama's 46.7 percent. And in Colorado, the race is neck-and-neck with Romney's 47.9 percent ahead by a mere 0.2 margin of Obama's 47.7 percent.
However, the keys to these races, as the Herald Tribune reports, may be held in the Hispanic population of these states. In Colorado and Nevada, Latino populations have been steadily on the rise, while Hispanics have long been a huge part of the Florida population-where the Puerto Rican population, which tends to lean Democratic, has been gaining ground on Cuban Floridians, a predominantly Republican group.
Large Hispanic voting numbers could potentially be a bad sign for Romney, who is revealed to be trailing woefully behind Obama among likely Latino voters, according to a poll released Thursday by the Pew Hispanic Center.
At least 23.7 million Latinos are eligible to vote in this year's White House race.
"The competition between the two candidates is stronger and stronger and Latinos can make the difference and (determine) the result in many undecided states," the deputy director of the pro-immigrant group America's Voice, Lynn Tramonte, told Hispanic news organization Efe, reported via Fox News Latino.
Obama understands your struggles," Camila Peterson, 65, said in Spanish as she spoke through a door to a family of Mexican immigrants in Longmont, Colo., according to the Herald-Register. "He is one of us."
Meanwhile, Pauline Olvera, 46, a third-generation American working at a Romney campaign office outside Denver, said she was calling back voters who she sensed needed "just an extra push."
"Romney," Ms. Olvera said. "I want them to tell me they're voting for Romney."
In Florida, polls cited by the Huffington Post show that Romney has only about 34 percent of the Latino vote compared to Obama's 52 percent-and Floridian Latinos tend to vote Republican.
"What we are seeing is the growing diversity of the Latino vote in Florida," Sylvia Manzano, a senior analyst at Hispanic voting data company Latino Decisions, told the Post. "Puerto Ricans, Columbians, Mexicans and younger Cubans have put it in play."