Obama hits historic high with Hispanics, winning 71 percent

President Obama is on pace to set a record by winning 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, the largest margin of victory with Latinos in history.

Obama's performance with Hispanic voters is an uptick from the 67 percent he won in 2008, according to early exit polls. Their support might have put him over the top in a number of key swing states including Nevada, Colorado and Virginia, and could help him win Florida, which has yet to be called.

Mitt Romney veered hard to the right on immigration during the GOP primaries, and while his campaign made a push for Hispanic voters during the general election, its efforts were dwarfed by a heavy courtship by Obama and Democratic groups. 

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Romney fell far short of his campaign's goal of winning 38 percent of the Hispanic vote, a number they revealed as their target to The Hill in August.

More Hispanics also turned out this year: 10 percent of the electorate is Latino, up from 9 percent four years ago. Latinos are a fast-growing population nationally and in a number of key states. 

If Republicans don't do a better job at winning their vote, they will face increasingly tough paths to victory in the presidential election — which could motivate them to work across the aisle on immigration in order to take the issue off the table.

"I think we are going to have a conversation about this. If we don't do better with Hispanics I think we're going to be out of the White House forever. It's that simple," former GOP pollster Ana Navarro said on CNN.

Obama has already promised that immigration reform will be one of the top priorities in his second term.

— This post was updated at 1:32 a.m.