Im going to vote for the Republican Party: Mitt Romney, said Sierra, who lives in Miamis Shenandoah neighborhood. I like his career path, and what hes proposing is better than Obama. In four years he hasnt done anything. On the contrary, there are more people without work, were still in debt. To me, he hasnt done anything worthwhile.
Another poll respondent, Marcelino Gracia, who fled Cuba 48 years ago, is a Democrat backing Obama.
Gracia, of Coral Gables, said he has always favored Democrats economic policies and particularly agrees with Obamas plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by 2014.
Theyll save $800 billion a year that we could use here, he said. Otherwise, Gracia said, theyll be killing Americans for no reason.
The poll found nearly 5 percent of Florida Hispanic voters are undecided. Candidate Gary Johnson, a Libertarian, received less than 1 percent of respondents support.
Most polls of Floridians are showing a dwindling number of undecided voters as the Oct. 27 early voting date draws near.
Cubans account for a little more than a third of registered Florida Hispanic voters, but can account to 40 to nearly 50 percent of the actual Hispanic vote, pollsters say. About 47 percent of respondents in this poll were Cuban.
Gamarra, a registered Democrat of Bolivian descent, said he didnt want to adjust or weight the sample to bring down the number of Cuban voters. He points out that there is no concrete data available that definitively shows how many Hispanic voters are, say, Cuban or Puerto Rican.
However, there is clear data showing the breakdown of overall Hispanic voters by party in Florida. Hispanics account for about 14 percent of the active registered voters in the state, 38 percent are Democrat, 30 percent are Republican and 32 percent are independent mainly no-party-affiliation voters.
If the poll were weighted to purely reflect registration only Obama would lead Romney by 10 points, 53-43 percent.
The Newlink poll is the first-ever attempt to survey Floridas diverse population of Hispanic voters by using Interactive Voice Response technology known as robo-polling in which people essentially cast their vote by using their telephone keypads in response to pre-recorded questions.
Newlink and Gamarra have used the technology to poll throughout Latin America since 2004.
Robo-polling has become relatively common in Florida and the nation overall, used by firms like SurveyUSA, Rasmussen Reports and Public Policy Polling. Many of them do not poll in Spanish. This survey gave respondents the option, and surveyed 80 percent of Florida respondents in Spanish.
Because robo-polling does not include cell phones, critics say, it can miss younger and more liberal-leaning voters.
Polling Florida Hispanics is a particular challenge, Gamarra said, because of its dynamic population: Republican-leaning Cubans in South Florida, Democratic-leaning Puerto Ricans in Central Florida and a mishmash of South and Central Americans throughout the state.
Nationwide, voters of Mexican descent dominate the Hispanic electorate.
This poll of likely voters those who say theyre sure to cast a ballot differs sharply from a poll two weeks ago of registered Hispanic voters that was sponsored by Americas Voice, a liberal-leaning immigration advocacy group. That survey showed Obama leading in Florida by 30 points.