Community college student 19-year-old Denise Cruz in Manassas, Virginia intends to vote for Barack Obama in the upcoming US presidential elections for the simple reason that his immigration policies will enable her cousins from Mexico to be able to stay in the United States and continue on with their education.
Cruz is the norm rather than the exception when it comes to the Latino population, which is the fastest growing eligible voter block in the United States and could be the group that will most be affected by the November 6th electoral results. Obama has a massive advantage over Republican candidate Mitt Romney with this constituency, though his ability to win could depend on how many actually turn out to vote in highly competitive states such as the likes of Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia.
“Enthusiasm in swing states is higher than it is anywhere else,” notes Stanford University in California political science professor Gary Segura, who is also the founder of political opinion research firm Latino Decisions. “In some respects, the narrowing of the race in the last two weeks has made it more likely that the Latinos are going to make a difference.”
Latino registered voters nationwide prefer Obama to Romney by as much as 69% to 21%, according to the Washington-based non-profit research organization Pew Hispanic Center, largely because of his immigration stance. Obama received 67% of the total Hispanic vote in 2008.