A new Gallup poll released today finds that President Obama’s approval ratings among Latinos are nearly the lowest they’ve ever been.
Obama’s lowest numbers with Latinos (see chart below) came around 2011-2012, after a first term in which he set a record number of deportations and took no action on immigration reform, despite making the issue a campaign promise as a candidate. In June 2012, however, Obama announced his deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program, which is credited with helping him win the 2012 election (and a surge in his approval rating among Latinos).
But now Obama is back in the doldrums, following a delay on his latest promise to take executive action on immigration. In fact, according to Gallup, Obama has lost more support among Latinos than with any other group. And that’s directly linked to immigration. As Gallup writes:
Immigration reform has not yet come to pass, suggesting that the disproportionate drop in Obama approval among Hispanics since the election reflects at least in part the failure of the president — and Congress — to enact these promised legislative changes.
This hypothesis is reinforced by data showing that Hispanics are much more likely than U.S. adults overall to say immigration is the most important problem facing the country. Moreover, previous Gallup research also shows that variation in Hispanics’ approval of Obama is tied to significant events in the immigration debate.
President Obama has lost significantly more support among Hispanics than among the national population since the months following his reelection in November 2012, although Hispanics’ ratings of Obama remain 10 points above the national average. The significant uptick in Hispanics’ approval at the time of the 2012 election, and the subsequent significant drop, may reflect unfulfilled promises that Obama made during the campaign about immigration reform.
This decreased Latino support for Obama could have big consequences this November, especially in key states like Colorado and Florida. It could also have real repercussions for the Democratic candidate in 2016 — one reason why Hillary Clinton has already become a major target for immigration reform advocates.