Obama dominates McCain among Hispanics: poll

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Democrat Barack Obama has a dominant lead over Republican John McCain among Hispanic voters, despite his struggle to woo the key bloc during his presidential primary campaign, a poll found Wednesday.

A Gallup survey put Obama up 59 percent to 29 percent over his rival among registered Hispanic voters across the United States. The community will likely play a pivotal role in general election swing states like Colorado, New Mexico and Florida.

The poll was published as McCain made a three-day trip through Colombia and Mexico, designed to burnish his foreign policy credentials, which was also seen as an attempt to win favor among Hispanic voters in the United States.

The poll appears to indicate that many Hispanic voters have shifted their support to Obama from his vanquished Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, who built a Latino powerbase during the fiercely contested nominating contest.

In nationwide "Super Tuesday" primary contests in February for instance, Clinton won the Latino vote by around two-to-one over Obama, according to exit polls.

Gallup said that support for Obama was consistent across demographic groups in the Hispanic community. Only 18 percent of the survey sample identified themselves as Republicans.

McCain's hopes of attracting a strong vote from Hispanics were hampered by the failure of a comprehensive immigration reform bill in Congress last year, which he supported, despite the risk of alienating conservative Republicans.

The Arizona senator now says that vigorous border enforcement measures must be put in place before the status of millions of illegal immigrants living in America can be addressed.

The nationwide Gallup survey was conducted among 4,604 Hispanic registered voters, between March 7 and June 30, with a margin of error of plus two percentage points.