78% Of U.S. Hispanics Favor Obama Over McCain

78 percent of U.S. Hispanics favor Obama over McCain

Tue Nov 4, 2008 8:02am EST

PHOENIX (Reuters) – In the final stretch to the presidential election, more than three quarters of likely Hispanic voters say they support Democrat Barack Obama over Republican John McCain, a study found.

The Univision/Reuters/Zogby poll released on Tuesday said that 78 percent of a sample of 1,016 Latino likely voters favored Sen. Obama, with 13 percent supporting McCain, an Arizona senator.

The poll, which was conducted between October 30 and November 2, found that 54 percent of respondents said the economy and jobs were the most important issue in deciding who to vote for, followed by health care and immigration, with 12 percent and 11 percent respectively.

Hispanics make up 15 percent of the U.S. population and 9 percent of the electorate, and could be a critical swing voting bloc in battleground states in the U.S. Southwest as well as Florida on Tuesday.

In 2004, President George W. Bush won about 40 percent of the Latino vote — a Republican record — when he beat Democrat John Kerry. But opinion polls show Republican standing among Hispanics has since been hurt by a shrill national debate over immigration reform and a worsening economy.

A survey by Zogby International last month found that 70 percent of Hispanic likely voters favored Obama, with 21 percent favoring McCain.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor, editing by Chris Wilson)