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nevada caucus voters Robin Penrod counts votes to ensure all ballots were collected at precinct 1668 on caucus day at Liberty High School on Saturday, February 4, 2012 in Henderson, Nevada. (Photo: Patrick Fallon/ZUMA Press/Newscom)

Election 2012: A Fight for Nevada

Both candidates betting on winning an important swing state

By Cheyenne Ruiz | null null , null

In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama won Nevada with 55.1 percent of the vote. But in 2012, the state is up for grabs. Nevada is one of numerous swing states in this election that could decide who will be the next President of the United States.

One of the key factors that might sway the way Nevada votes is Latino voters.

"We have a Latino Coordinator in Southern Nevada," stated Dave Buell, Chairman of the Washoe County Republican Party. "It's believed that the number of Latino votes will not change dramatically in comparison to previous years. Since 1912, Nevada has voted primarily Republican every year except one to date."

That year was 2008, when the state went for Obama. As of Sunday, Obama has a 3.5-point lead in Nevada, according to the New York Times' poll tracker blog Five Thirty Eight.

In order to win Nevada again, the Republican Party will have to face a big challenge in how its nominee, Mitt Romney, has said he will deal with illegal immigration. Romney has called for a policy of "self-deportation" when it comes to immigrants in the country illegally. This has raised some concerns among the Latino population, not only in Nevada but across the country.

But the Democratic Party also has a few challenges when it comes to Latino voters.

President Obama has visited Latino communities in swing states and said he would sign into law the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, which would give young illegal immigrants in the country against their will a chance to earn their citizenship.

But Congress has not passed the DREAM Act, and Obama has only enacted limited executive action to address the challenges of illegal immigration.

Another issue that both parties are focusing on is economy.

Jobs is one part of the issue. The unemployment rate in Nevada is the highest in the country. Both parties have emphasized how they are going to address unemployment and or create jobs, which in turn will hopefully help stimulate the economy and housing markets.

But another important aspect of the economic issue is the national debt. During Obama's presidency, the national debt has grown from $10 trillion when President George W. Bush left office to $16 trillion today. Both Obama and Romney have pledged to bring down the debt, but they disagree on how to do it. Republicans want to reduce spending and cut taxes, but Democrats want to cut taxes for the middle class and increase taxes on the very rich.

"It's going to affect the future," Pam duPre, Executive Director of Washoe DEMS, said about the debt. "Under George W. Bush, the rich didn't sacrifice."

Where both parties agree is that voter education is extremely important. They both advise that America's youth pay attention to the world of politics.  It will affect them in the long run.

"Pay attention, get information, listen to news publications, and talk to your parents, teachers, and friends," stated duPre. "You need good information to make good decisions for your future."

Read more about the swing states that could determine the winner of the 2012 presidential election in the 2012 Swing States Special Report.


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