Puerto Ricans are one of the biggest swing voting blocs in Florida, a fast-growing Hispanic population numbering in the hundreds of thousands, mostly centered in the Orlando area. Many of them voted for GOP President Bush in 2004. They backed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in his campaigns, but also voted for Al Gore in 2000 and Barack Obama in 2008.
Now the battle for their votes is heating up, with Obama’s re-election campaign hoping to reignite support in that community by reminding voters of one of his biggest decisions – putting a Puerto Rican woman on the Supreme Court.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor is featured in a new ad airing in Florida and released Friday. As images of Obama and Sotomayor flash on the screen, a local lawyer, Nydia Menendez, is shown expressing disgust that Republican nominee Mitt Romney had opposed Sotomayor’s nomination.
"He offended me when he stated he would have voted against her nomination,” Menendez said, “and now he wants our vote for president?”'
The ad buy comes after one top Obama pollster, Sergio Bendixen, told Hispanic delegates to last week’s Democratic National Convention that the president was lagging in his support from Puerto Ricans. Internal polling from July showed Obama winning the group over Romney by 54-32 percent, but Bendixen told the delegates that Obama’s share of the Puerto Rican vote would have to reach into the 70s for him to win Florida.