By a ratio of more than two-to-one (59% versus 27%), Latinos disapprove of the way the Obama administration is handling deportations of unauthorized immigrants, according to a new national survey of Latino adults by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.
Deportations have reached record levels under President Obama, rising to an annual average of nearly 400,000 since 2009, about 30% higher than the annual average during the second term of the Bush administration and about double the annual average during George W. Bush’s first term.
More than eight-in-ten (81%) of the nation’s estimated 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants are of Hispanic origin, according to Pew Hispanic Center estimates. Hispanics accounted for an even larger share of deportees in 2010——97%.
Not all Latinos are aware that the Obama administration has stepped up deportations of unauthorized immigrants. A plurality (41%) says that the Obama administration is deporting more unauthorized immigrants than the Bush administration. Slightly more than a third (36%) say the two administrations have deported about the same number of immigrants. And one-in-ten (10%) Latinos say the Obama administration has deported fewer unauthorized immigrants than the Bush administration.
Disapproval of Obama’s policy is most widespread among those who are aware that deportations have risen during his tenure. Among this group, more than three-quarters (77%) disapprove of the way his administration is handling the issue of deportations. Among those who are not aware that an increase has occurred, slightly more than half disapprove.
The 2012 Presidential Election and Latinos
The Pew Hispanic survey also reveals that, heading into the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama and the Democratic Party continue to enjoy strong support from Latino registered voters.
In a hypothetical match-up against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Obama wins 68% to 23% among Latino registered voters. And in a match-up against Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Obama wins the Latino vote 69% to 23%. These results closely match the outcome of the 2008 presidential election, when Obama carried the Latino vote over Republican John McCain by 67% to 31%.
Even among those who disapprove of the way Obama is handling the issue of deportations, a majority support his reelection over either of these two potential Republican challengers. Obama would carry this group by 57% to 34% against Romney and 61% to 31% against Perry.
The survey also shows that identification with the Democratic Party among Hispanic registered voters remains strong. Two-thirds (67%) of Hispanic registered voters say they identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, while 20% say the same about the Republican Party.
And when asked which party has more concern for Hispanics, 45% of Hispanic registered voters say it’s the Democratic Party, while 12% say it’s the Republican Party. The share that identifies the Republican Party as the better party for Hispanics is up six percentage points since 2010.
Obama’s Job Rating among Hispanics
Despite Obama’s strong showing among Latinos when compared with potential 2012 Republican rivals, he has suffered a decline in his overall approval rating as president. Today 49% of Latinos approve of the job he is doing, down from 58% in 2010. Among the general public, Obama’s approval trend has been more stable during the past year. His current rating——46%——is still somewhat lower among the general public than among Latinos, but this gap has narrowed significantly in the past year.
Among Latinos who disapprove of the Obama administration’s deportation policy, just 36% approve of the president’s overall job performance while 54% disapprove.
These and many other findings are from a new national survey of 1,220 Hispanic adults ages 18 and older conducted by landline and cellular telephone, in English and Spanish, from November 9 through December 7, 2011.
The report, “As Deportations Rise to Record Levels, Most Latinos Oppose Obama’s Policy,” authored by Mark Hugo Lopez, Associate Director, Pew Hispanic Center, Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Research Associate, Pew Hispanic Center and Seth Motel, Research Assistant, Pew Hispanic Center is available at the Pew Hispanic Center’s website, www.pewhispanic.org.
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