By Jean-Paul Salamanca (staff@latinospost.com) | First Posted: Nov 14, 2012 03:52 PM EST

Latest polls showed that President Barack Obama gained huge margins among Cuban-Americans in Florida, which may have helped push the election for Florida's 29 Electoral College votes in his favor. (Photo : Latinos Post)

What was once a sure thing for Republicans-their strong support among the large Cuban-American in the always-crucial Florida during election seasons-looks like it's on shakier ground following the Nov. 6 election.

Exit polls show President Obama took a dominating 71 percent of Latino voters nationwide compared to 27 percent that cast votes for Republican Mitt Romney, ABC News Univision reported Tuesday.

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However, one statistic among Latino voters that has drawn attention is a spike in support from more Cuban Americans, traditionally backers of Republicans, for President Obama in the Hispanic-heavy state of Florida, which the Democratic president was declared the winner of Saturday by roughly 74,000 votes, 50 percent to 49.1 percent for Romney. 

Romney just barely took the Cuban-American vote in the Sunshine State, 52 percent to 48 percent, according to the Miami Herald, who reported on a survey conducted by polling firm Bendixen & Amandi International

The poll, which showed that Cuban-Americans were still the most predominant of any Hispanic voters in Florida, showed that while Romney had an edge on Obama overall with Cuban voters, President Obama closed a 13 percent gap that existed between himself and former GOP presidential candidate John McCain in 2008.

Further, it appears that Democrats have been steadily gaining ground in among Floridian Cubans since 1988, where they only had 15 percent of the Cuban vote compared to a commanding 85 percent preference that Republicans held with that demographic.

Pollster Fernand Amandi of Benedixi and Amandi told the Huffington Post that the shift for Cuban-Americans towards Obama in last week's election marked what he called "a sea change."

"The dam has finally burst in the long-awaited Cuban shift," Amandi said. "This is a remarkable change."

Of the 1,660,000 Latinos registered to vote in Florida, based on state Florida Department of State Dvision of Elecions stats given in October to the Pew Hispanic Center, one-third, or 32 percent, of Hispanic eligible voters in Florida are of Cuban origin, 28 percent are of Puerto Rican origin, 9 percent are of Mexican origin, and 30 percent claim other Hispanic origin.

Looking at what could have led to President Obama's gains among Cuban-Americans, some Latino advocates beleive President Obama gained more Hispanic voters after his administration took steps in August that stopped deporting certain young illegal immigrants. 

Jennifer Korn, the executive director of Hispanic Leadership Network, told Fox News last week that decision, "although super-political, it still fared well with Hispanics."

Following Romney's defeat last week, which left many Republicans scratching their heads to figure out what happened, GOP leaders have said their party needs to do more to appeal to minorities and immigrants.

"The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it, and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them," U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in a statement last week to Bloomberg Businessweek.

 

 

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