A Pew Hispanic Center poll released Thursday shows the problem Democrats could face with Latino voters this year: even though they support President Barack Obama by large margins, they are less likely than the population at large to actually get to the polls.
The group found that about 70 percent of Latino voters nationwide support Obama over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, similar to what other polls have shown. Polls of the general population, meanwhile, put the two close to even.
But a smaller proportion of Latinos say they are sure they're going to vote, Pew Hispanic Center found. While 89 percent of all registered voters surveyed say they are "absolutely certain" they will vote in the election, that figure drops to 77 percent among registered Latino voters.
The Romney and Obama campaigns both have programs and staff dedicated to Latino outreach and are spending money on Spanish-language advertising directed at Hispanic voters.
Latinos could play a critical role in the upcoming election if they vote in large numbers. While they do not vote as a bloc, a strong majority are registered Democrats -- even more than in 2011. The number of eligible Latino voters in the country has risen to 23.7 million, 4 million higher than it was in 2008.
A majority of Latino voters recognize their ability to influence the election, the poll found. Two-thirds -- 67 percent -- say the Latino vote will have a "major impact" this year.
The poll also indicates voter ID laws may not pose much of a problem for Latino turnout. Ninety-seven percent of Latino registered voters say they are confident they have the identification necessary to vote.
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