While Latinas had been supporting President Obama by wider margins than Latino men a few months ago, the gender gap virtually disappeared at Election time. (Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Images)

Obama virtually closed Latino gender gap in the end

Latina women had been strongly supporting President Obama for the past few months. A September Latino Decisions poll had Hispanic women with a 53-point margin in favor of Barack Obama over Mitt Romney.  So in a way the strong Latina woman vote for President Obama – at 77 percent – was not a surprise.  What is interesting, however, is that President Obama also got 73 percent of the Hispanic male vote.

“He virtually closed the gender gap among Latinos,” says Latino Decisions political scientist Matt Barreto.

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In the September polling, 61 percent of Latino men said they would vote for Obama, compared to 74 percent among Latinas. Conversely, in the September polling, 32 percent of Hispanic men said they would vote for Romney, compared to 21 percent among Latinas – which by the way ended up being the number of women which voted for Romney, according to the impreMedia/Latino Decisions exit polls.

So why did President Obama close the gender gap in the end?  “I think toward the end the negativity surrounding Romney did not benefit him among Latino male voters,” says Barreto.    Gabriel Sanchez, assistant professor of political science at the University of New Mexico, says increased turnout could have been a factor.

“Whereas in the past Latina women were more enthusiastic about the election and President Obama, there seems to have been a shift among men, possibly related to increased turnout and greater enthusiasm in the end,” says Sanchez.

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