FOX Logo-ReducedThe record, double-digit turnout by Latino voters on Tuesday—seen by experts as tipping the election in favor of President Barack Obama—shows that the long-dubbed Sleeping Giant is wide awake.

“It’s unequivocally clear now that the road to the White House goes through Hispanic neighborhoods,” said Clarissa Martinez, director of civic engagement and immigration at the National council of La Raza, or NCLR, the nation’s largest Hispanic civil right group.

“Our community cares deeply about restoring the American Dream for all, expanding economic opportunity, and resolving immigration once and for all.  The real work on common sense solutions begins now, and Latinos will be a powerful ally in moving the nation forward together.”

Roughly 50 percent of Latino voters cast their ballots, comprising 10 percent of Tuesday’s turnout. That exceeded the record set in 2008, when Latinos made up a record 9 percent of all voters.

Read Related: Why this Latina Mom is Grateful for Obama’s Victory

Exit polls show that 71 percent of Latino voters chose Obama, compared with just 27 percent who picked his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. That marks the widest gap in Latino support between two presidential candidates.

“The most historic thing in this election is that for the first time in history, the share of the national popular vote margin is smaller than the Latino vote margin,” said Gary Segura, professor of American Politics and Chair of Chicano/a Studies at Stanford University and Principal at Latino Decisions. “That means that if Latinos had evenly divided their vote between both candidates, the outcomes would be reversed.”

A record 24 million Latinos are eligible to vote; 12 million are believed to have gone to the polls.

Latinos were not blindly enthralled with Obama during his first term. At one point, some political observers and Latino leaders wondered if, like other Americans, Latinos would be less inclined to turn out at the polls this year because of the absence of the 2008 excitement over electing the nation’s first African-American president, combined with disappointment over the slow economic recovery and lack of progress on immigration reform. Read the full article on FOX NEWS Latino.