Fla. Puerto Ricans could play a key election role

Puerto Ricans living in Florida's midsection are drawing unprecedented attention from the presidential campaigns.

President Barack Obama is set to visit the Orlando area Thursday, the latest effort to woo a segment of Florida's most independent voters.

The growing interest in the Puerto Rican vote by the campaigns of Republican Mitt Romney and Obama stem from a combination of factors. One is the sheer growth in the state's Puerto Rican population. It's doubled in the last decade to more than 860,000 — and accounts for 1 in 14 voters overall.

Another factor is an increase in civic involvement as Puerto Ricans become accustomed to the rough-and-tumble of state politics.

And Florida is playing a key role in the razor-close presidential race.