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Why The Latino Vote In Florida Went To Obama

Jessica Meszaros

The Latino vote has been changing in the past few years in Florida, but it looks like it's mostly been shifting towards Democrats.

And looking at Tuesday night's results, that's particularly true.

For decades, Florida's Latino population has been its mostly Cuban-American residents in South Florida. As we all know, Cubans here lean Republican when they vote.

However, more Latinos of different nationalities are coming to Florida and are effectively shifting its voting trends.

According to the Washington Post's analysis of exit polls, Florida went largely to Obama Tuesday:

Hispanics make up 17 percent of voters; they were 15 percent in 2008. Among all Hispanics, President Obama leads 60 to 39 percent. Among non-Cuban Hispanics, he leads Mitt Romney 68 to 32 percent. 

The Miami Herald reports that Obama's strong ground game helped garner Latino votes for his reelection.

Obama won big with the fastest-growing segment of the electorate: Hispanic voters, who voted for the Democrat, 60-39 percent, the exit poll showed. That’s better than Obama did in 2008. Obama’s Hispanic-vote margin came despite a massive Hispanic-outreach effort by Romney, who struggled at times in the general election because of the hardline immigration policies he espoused during the Republican primary. Obama won big in Osceola and Orange counties, home to a burgeoning Democratic-leaning Puerto Rican population that’s starting to counterbalance Cuban-American Republicans in Southeast Florida. Obama’s Hispanic outreach effort was so robust that he planted a field office — one of more than 100 in Florida — in the once-Republican stronghold of Little Havana.

In this election, the Republican presidential candidate captured significantly less of the Latino vote than in 2008. John McCain got about 30 percent of the vote -- Mitt Romney got 27 percent.