Presidential campaigns target new citizen voters

Associated Press
In this Oct. 2, 2012, photo, Georgina Castaneda, a new citizen who registered to vote Democratic at a swearing-in ceremony in March, when she took the U.S. citizenship oath, poses for a photo at her home in Los Angeles. From Florida to Massachusetts and Iowa to California, candidates and political parties seeking to squeeze every vote they can from a divided electorate are targeting America's newest citizens, a bloc relatively small in number but substantial enough to make a difference in presidential swing states. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — From Florida to Virginia, Massachusetts to California, political parties seeking to squeeze every vote from a divided electorate are targeting America's newest citizens.

It's a relatively small bloc but one that can be substantial enough to make a difference in presidential swing states and competitive congressional races.

A study of census data finds that, nationwide, an estimated 7.8 million people of voting age were naturalized since 2000, or 3.6 percent of all potential voters. Two swing states — Florida, at 6 percent, and Nevada, at 5.1 percent — have higher concentrations than the national average.

States like California, Massachusetts and Illinois that are expected to go for President Barack Obama over Republican challenger Mitt Romney also have significant populations of new citizens who could make the difference in congressional races.

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