Article published on the 2008-11-03 Latest update 2008-11-03 16:19 TU
The south-western state of New Mexico is home to a 44 per cent Hispanic population, the largest within the 50 states.
"We have a lot of folks that say they are Democrat, but will switch over and vote for a Republican, depending on the election. That's why we're looked at as a battleground state," said Gabriel Ramon Sanchez, a professor and expert on the Hispanic influence on politics.
However, pollsters estimate that voters are leaning towards Obama.
"People classify Hispanics, especially in New Mexico, as politically liberal, agreeing largely with the Democrat platform, but very socially conservative," said Sanchez. "So if you talk about issues like abortion and gay marriage, those type of family issues, they tend to be very conservative.
"George W. Bush was able to pull in on those issues and get a large segment of those folks to vote for him," he added.
McCain has renewed his attacks on Obama's patriotism and economic plans, labeling the senator a "socialist" who would squander taxpayer's money and pander to Islamic extremists.
New York Senator Hillary Clinton, a former presidential candidate who has been campaigning for Obama, has denounced McCain's use of her voice in "robo-calls". The phone calls automatically dial up voters in swing states, and play a recorded message.
McCain has used an old Clinton speech, when she was bidding for the Democratic presidential nomination, that speaks of Obama's lack of experience.
The Gallup polling organisation predicts an Obama victory.
"It would take an improbable last-minute shift in voter preferences, or a huge Republican advantage in election day turnout, for McCain to improve enough upon his predicted share of the vote in Gallup's traditional likely voter model to overcome his deficit to Obama," it said.
2008-11-03 11:03 TU
2008-10-31 14:42 TU