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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hispanic vote presents electoral map hurdle for Mitt Romney

At a private fundraising reception in Palm Beach recently, Mitt Romney was overheard acknowledging his weakness among Hispanic voters. If it's not turned around, he said, "It spells doom for us."

Take a look at the electoral map, and you'll see why.

President Barack Obama starts the general election with a sizable electoral vote lead over Romney, looking strong in states totaling 247, while Romney has a strong edge in states totaling 191. It takes 270 to win.

And if Romney can't narrow Obama's considerable lead among Latino voters, key battlegrounds including Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida could be out of reach for the Republican nominee. Even reliably Republican Arizona could wind up in play, and Obama already has five campaign offices there.

"It's about holding down the margins," said Nathan Gonzales, deputy editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report. "Romney doesn't need to get a majority of Hispanics nationwide, but he has to avoid getting swamped by Obama among Hispanic voters."

An April Pew Research Center poll found the president leading Romney among Hispanics 67 percent to 27 percent. That's similar to the 67 percent to 31 percent margin among Hispanic voters that helped Obama handily beat John McCain four years ago.

Story by Times political editor Adam C. Smith here.

[Last modified: Friday, May 4, 2012 6:15pm]

    

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