In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama won the important Latino battleground states of Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida on his way to winning 365 total electoral college votes. In 2012, due to declining approval of Obama among Whites, and a change in the number of electoral college votes during reapportionment, Latino voters, and Latino influence states are likely to play a very crucial role in determining which candidate gets to 270 electors.
The four Latino battleground states have gained 3 seats in the U.S. House, resulting in 3 additional electoral college votes - 1 in Nevada and 2 in Florida. While Obama carried all four of these Latino states in 2008, the other states he won saw a loss of 9 electoral college votes in reapportionment, for a net loss of 6.
The 49 votes up for grabs in the four key Latino influence states may be the most competitive, and the most important for Obama to secure.
Indeed, if Obama has only 301 votes leaning towards his column in 2012 these 49 Latino-influence electoral votes are absolutely crucial - without which he’d be left with just 252 votes.
There are limitless possibilities of dividing up the electoral map as we look towards 2012, however it is almost impossible for Obama (as it was for Kerry) to get to 270 electors without winning a minimum of 3 out of 4 of these Latino-influence states.