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According to a new Latino Decisions poll, President Barack Obama still holds an overwhelming lead over Mitt Romney among Latino voters.

The poll shows that 65 percent of Latino registered voters support President Obama’s re-election, compared to just 26 percent who support Romney. One key factor in Obama’s huge lead is his big favorability advantage; 74 percent of Latinos hold a favorable opinion of the president, compared to just 27 who view Romney favorably.

Latinos are also very forgiving of Obama for the poor state of the economy. 68 percent blame George W. Bush for the nation’s current economic woes, compared to just 14 percent who blame Obama. This undercuts the Romney campaign’s central argument for why he should replace the president.

In addition to his low personal numbers, Romney is suffering from his party’s poor standing in the Latino community. 57 percent of Latinos believe that Republicans are ignoring or do not care about Latinos, and 21 percent say that Republicans are downright hostile to them. While Latinos were at least somewhat receptive to the GOP message in the past — President Bush did receive 40 percent of the Latino vote in 2004 — they now appear to be a strong Democratic constituency.

These numbers — along with a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showing Romney with a stunning 0 to 94 percent deficit among African-American voters — help to explain why Romney has opened up cynical, racially tinged campaign. As Ron Brownstein wrote in National Journal, Romney needs to either improve his standing with minority voters or win 61 percent of the white vote in order to capture the election.

The former isn’t likely to happen (unless Romney’s Etch-a-Sketch works far better than anticipated,) so that leaves the Republican nominee with one option: lying about welfare, cracking birther jokes, and doing anything else that he can to make a run at 61.

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