Latino voters may be deciding factor in Colorado

Latino votes could very well swing Colorado for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, according to a new report.

Ryan Rivera at the Huffington Post points to a new study conducted this month by the nonprofit William C. Velásquez Institute:

Although most state and national polls have declared for weeks now that these key western states are leaning toward Obama, the Velasquez report found that, minus Latino voters, Obama’s advantage would disappear or fall into the margin of error.

Colorado
without Latino voters: Obama 44.24 percent, McCain 42.41 percent
with Latino voters: Obama 51 percent, McCain 45 percent

Rivera has also posted a video reel at News21 project, where he reports on the political awakening of thousands of new and predominantly Latino citizens in the western states and Florida.

In Colorado, five counties — Denver, Douglas, Arapahoe, Garfield and Eagle — all had Latino populations increase by more than 41 percent since 2000, a statistic that indicates “fast growth,” according to a recent study by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center.

Federal data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency also shows that the state is one of the top three locations in the country for newly legalized residents.

Although the full power of the Latino vote in the state will be determined by turnout figures and exit polling on Election day, the Velasquez study, if accurate, paints a remarkable picture of the future political landscape in Colorado.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.

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