Romney Seeks to Chip Away at Obama’s Grip on Hispanic Vote

By Ana Radelat  (Ad Age)

While President Barack Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney will make special efforts to appeal to certain groups, the competition for the Latino vote will be one of the most intense. And it’s already started.

Hispanic voters are the fastest-growing voting bloc in the U.S. A record 12.2 million Latinos are expected to cast ballots this year.

More important, Latinos will cast a lot of those votes in swing states.

Hispanic votes helped Mr. Obama turn New Mexico, Colorado, Florida and Nevada from red to blue in 2008 and may have also made a difference in Virginia and North Carolina, two other Republican strongholds the president won.

In all, Mr. Obama received 67% of the Hispanic vote. Mr. Romney told donors in Florida if he can’t chip away at that support, “it spells doom for us.”

Lionel Sosa, owner of a Hispanic advertising firm in Texas and adviser to George W. Bush and John McCain, said Mr. Romney has to distance himself from the hard-line stance on immigration he adopted when he was battling primary rivals.

The Obama campaign spent $25 million in 2008 on Spanish-language ads. Mr. Sosa said Mr. Romney has to pour money into both Spanish-language ads and English-language ads that appeal to Latinos, as most Hispanic voters are English-dominant.

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