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Back during the primaries, everyone kept formally admitting that it was wrong to engage in the form of inference "candidate X lost group A in a primary, and therefore he's likely to lose group A in a general election against candidate Y of the other party" but I often got the sense listening to and reading pundits that they didn't really believe that. But the Pew Center's latest findings on public opinion among Hispanics should remind people that this is a very important caveat. Barack Obama did quite a poor job of persuading Latinos to vote for him over Hillary Clinton, but they're backing him very strongly against John McCain.

The numbers deserve to be put in a historical context:

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Obama is, in short, in solid shape with this demographic. Which I hope will serve as a reminder for us next time. The way a lot of people were interpreting the Obama-Clinton primary results led to the conclusion that neither candidate could beat John McCain because both were showing "weakness" among some key groups, even though both were polling ahead of McCain in general election trial heats at the time. But the "weakness" of both candidates simply reflected the fact that they were evenly matched with about half of Democrats preferring each of their choices -- it didn't say anything about either candidate's actual strength in November.

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