As the Obama Administration continues to delay action on fixing his administration’s deportation policy, we’re seeing more indications, via NBC/WSJ’s latest poll, that his approval rating has suffered with Latino voters. From the Wall Street Journal:
Another ominous trend for Democrats heading into a midterm election that tends to swing on turnout: Mr. Obama has lost significant altitude among core constituencies such as Hispanics and younger Americans. The share of Hispanics who see Mr. Obama favorably and approve of his job performance has dropped from 67% in January 2013 to 44% in the latest poll.
“It all comes back to one word: leadership,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who helps conduct the poll with Democrat Fred Yang and Republican Bill McInturff. “He may be winning the issues debate, but he’s losing the political debate because they don’t see him as a leader.”
A recently released poll on immigration from PRRI/Brookings found a similar drop for the President, “Hispanic Americans’ support for Obama has declined by more than 20 percentage points over the past year. A slim majority (51%) of Hispanics currently approve of Obama’s job performance, down from 72% in 2013.”
There’s historical precedent showing a bold move by the President improves his approval rating. In June of 2012, Latino Decisions was conducting polling with Latino voters when the President announced his DACA – and it showed a major bump:
According to Matt Barreto, Principal at Latino Decisions and an Adjunct Professor of political science at the University of Washington, “The battleground polling data shows quite convincingly that the Obama DHS announcement created a Latino enthusiasm bump. The question now is whether that can be sustained until election day.”
Comparing surveys completed before and after June 15th, when the President made this announcement, Obama’s approval ratings on immigration shot up 16 percentage points and he gained 10 points in the overall ballot. The President wasn’t the only beneficiary of this bounce: the Democrats’ advantage with Latinos in a generic House match-up rose 10 percentage points following the announcement. Four of these five states will also see competitive Senate battles this cycle, and Democrats are polling well there too.
And, we know how the 2012 election turned out.
When it comes to the President’s approval ratings among the entire population, Aaron Blake of the Washington Post’s “The Fix” political blog wrote earlier this month:
The president’s approval ratings on these issues [immigration and gun control] was never high, but in both cases, it trended upward as he tried to do something about them – the push for new gun restrictions last year and his 2012 executive order halting deportations for young illegal immigrants – only to fall to new lows today. Few things could demonstrate better that, for a two-term president, being right isn’t sufficient. You need to get results.
As we get closer to the 2014 elections, there will be increased effort to increase enthusiasm among Latino voters, especially in key races in California, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina and Georgia. There’s one proven way to do that: The President needs to use his executive authority to fix his deportation policy – again – and get some results.