A survey just released by Avanze, Inc. of San Diego, California in partnership with ImpreMedia provides an updated look at the state of mind of the Hispanic electorate, less than one month before the kickoff of the 2008 election cycle at the Iowa caucus. The survey polled Hispanic registered voters in the top five U.S. Hispanic states on issues that they consider key in their decision making on Election Day 2008. Additionally, it identifies the current presidential candidate preferences of Hispanics, and distinguishes important potential opportunities for both parties, with an eye towards how political parties and candidates can best speak to this population segment.

Asked on an open-ended basis the top five issues that registered Hispanic Democrat, Republican and Independent voters expect to take into account when they decide for whom to vote, these are, in order of priority, the war in Iraq, immigration, the economy, healthcare and education.

The recent survey presents data that shows that Democrats are currently leading the battle for presidential candidacy support with Hillary Clinton carrying the support of 42% of all registered Hispanics surveyed. Looking at the individual parties, Rudy Giuliani tops the list among registered Hispanic Republicans, with a 23% preference followed by Fred Thompson, John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, all with slightly less than 5% support. Among Democrats, 55% of registered voters have an early interest in Hillary Clinton followed by Barack Obama with 6%, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden and John Edwards were also mentioned each getting approximately 5% support.

The survey further reports that a full 35% of Hispanic voters are yet undecided, a margin that allows opportunities for the Republicans to tip the scales, or Democrats to maintain their lead, based on how these parties navigate the social, economic, and particularly, the immigration issues important to Hispanics before the election.

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