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Obama leads big with Latinos

Less than six months before November’s presidential election, President Obama enjoys a sizable lead over Mitt Romney among Latino voters, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll of Latino respondents.

The challenge for the Obama campaign, however, will be turning out these voters, who aren’t as interested in the election as all other Americans are.

Larry Downing / Reuters

President Barack Obama speaks at a news conference after the 2012 NATO Summit May 21 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

In this survey, Obama holds a 34-point lead over Romney among registered Latino voters, 61 to 27 percent. In 2008, according to the exit polls, Obama defeated McCain among this key voting bloc, 67 to 31 percent.

In addition, Obama’s approval rating among all Latino adults stands at 61 percent (compared with 48 percent of all Americans in the new NBC/WSJ poll), and approval of his handling of the economy is at 54 percent (versus 43 percent overall).

Meanwhile, Romney is struggling with Latinos, the poll shows. Just 26 percent view him positively, while 35 percent see him in a negative light. By comparison, Obama’s positive/negative score among Latinos is 58/23 percent.

(Click here for a PDF of this NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll.)

What’s more, this demographic group is more optimistic about the economy and the nation’s direction than the general population. Forty percent of Latinos believe the country is headed in the right direction (versus 33 percent of all Americans in the NBC/WSJ poll), and 46 percent of them say what they’ve read and heard recently makes them feel more optimistic about the economy (versus 42 percent).

But here’s a troubling sign for the Obama campaign: Latinos aren’t as excited about the upcoming election. A combined 68 percent of Latino voters say they are highly interested in the upcoming election (registering an “8”,”9”, or “10” on a 10-point scale). That’s compared with 81 percent of all voters who express high interest.

This NBC/WSJ/Telemundo survey -- an oversample from the just-released NBC/WSJ poll -- was conducted May 16-21 of 300 adults who identified themselves as coming from a Latino or Spanish-speaking background. That sample includes 119 interviews that were conducted in Spanish.

The overall margin of error for this survey is plus-minus 5.7 percentage points. The margin of error for the 188 registered Latino voters survey is plus-minus 7.2 percentage points.