WASHINGTON — Barack Obama has a huge lead over John McCain among Hispanic voters, a new poll released Thursday by the Pew Hispanic Center found.
Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, led Republican rival McCain, 66 percent to 23 percent, according to the nationwide poll of 2,015 Latino registered voters. It was conducted between June 9 and July 13.
If those numbers hold up in the fall, Obama could have an important edge over McCain, since Hispanic voters are important blocs in some crucial states, notably California, Nevada, New Mexico and Florida. Republicans have tried hard to woo Latino voters; President Bush got an estimated 40 percent of the vote in 2004.
Pew also found that Obama's showing "represents a sharp reversal in his fortunes from the primaries, when Obama lost the Latino vote to Hillary Rodham Clinton by a nearly two-to-one ratio, giving rise to speculation in some quarters that Hispanics were disinclined to vote for a black candidate."
The new poll, though, showed 32 percent said being black would help Obama with Hispanic voters, compared to 11 percent who thought his race would hurt him. Most people — 53 percent — thought race made no difference.
More good news for Obama: He was seen favorably by 76 percent of Hispanic registered voters, far better than McCain's 44 percent rating.
More than three-fourths of Hispanics who voted for Clinton in primaries now say they will probably vote for Obama, with 8 percent saying they now preferred McCain.