At the Melao Bakery in Kissimmee, Luis Ortiz, 22, of Puerto Rico, left, listens to his twin brothers argument about why Romney is the right choice for president. The two twins are voting for different presidents. Luis and his girlfriend, Leydie Vazquez, 23, of Puerto Rico, right, are both going to vote for Obama. (Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Poll: Half of young Latinos intend to vote

With the election in just a few days, both campaigns have been hoping to garner the youth vote. A new youth voting poll says that 56.6 percent of Latino youth intend to vote this election, with the majority favoring President Obama.

The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) polled 1,695 youth (ages 18-29) in June and July and 1,109 of the same youth between October 12 and 23. CIRCLE found that more than half of Latinos polled intended to vote in the upcoming election. Nearly three-quarters of black youth say it is very likely they will vote and 68.7 percent of white youth said the same.

Hispanic youth were also the most likely to be contacted by a campaign and urged to vote, according to the study. Eighteen percent of Hispanics had been contacted by a campaign, compared to 14.5 percent of African-Americans and 15.6 percent of White youth. White, Black and Hispanic youth who were contacted were more likely to have been contacted by the Obama campaign than the Romney campaign.

Across the board, all youth polled seemed to be more engaged in or following the election because they feel it is really important.

The poll also found that Hispanic youth knew the least about their state’s voter ID laws, only 20.9 percent compared to 28.8 percent of African-Americans and 36 percent of white youth. Both black young people (60.5 percent) and Hispanic young people (53.9 percent) were more likely to identify early voting laws than White youth (48.3 percent). And only 11.7 percent of Hispanic youths knew registration deadlines for their state compared to 21.3 of Blacks and 11.9 of Whites.

CIRCLE director Peter Levine said in a press release that “there is a rise in intent to vote among the three groups whom we polled in large numbers,” but did note that “One problem area continues to be young people’s lack of awareness of state voting laws.”

The CIRCLE poll also found that candidate support varied by race and ethnicity. President Obama gained support from registered, extremely likely young voters, but most were Latino or African-American likely voters rather than White voters. In fact, President Obama gained support from Latinos by 14 percentage points. And Romney has lost support from the Hispanic community since July by 17 percentage points compared to a 5 percentage point loss with African-Americans.

CIRCLE also found that perceptions of each candidate varied by race and ethnicity. Forty-four percent of Hispanic youth were most likely to say they were “satisfied” with President Obama, compared to 55.3 percent of African-Americans who “admired” him and 45 percent of White youth saying they were “disappointed” with the president.  Hispanic youth were the most likely to be disappointed with Mitt Romney (44.6 percent).

Despite Hispanic youth’s preference for President Obama, 41.4 percent seemed unsure of whether or not the country is going in the right direction.

“Everyone wants to say they’ll vote, but at the end of the day you may not turn out,” says Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, Senior Analyst for Latino Decisions and NBC Latino contributor. DeFrancesco Soto says people should be wary of polls regarding political behaviors and voting attentions. “Given that [this poll is] not a registered voter sample, it’s really hard to talk about what this means for November 6. It gives you a sense of attitudes, but in terms of how those attitudes will translate, we don’t know.”

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