Photo: Latinos and 2012 Elections
The number of Latino voters who intend to support President Barack Obama increased by 9% compared with those supporting the president in the previous impreMedia/Latino Decisions (LD) poll, conducted two months ago. However, the same group is profoundly divided in their opinions about the Obama administration’s actions on immigration policy.
This increase in voting intentions favoring Obama among registered Latino voters should not be discounted as something isolated, since during the last two polls, 43% and 41% of respondents respectively said they would vote for him. During the most recent poll conducted in late May, 49% said they are sure they will vote to re-elect the president, while another 12% said they might vote for him.
Analysts think this increase is consistent with the support the president has obtained from the population as a whole, because of the capture and death of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
However, in the case of Latino voters, this increase could have an added dimension: The Obama administration, knowing how dissatisfied Latinos are about the immigration issue, has been discussing the need for comprehensive reform. This started with a speech the president gave in May in Texas and continued with declarations made by several top administration officials. Just two weeks ago, Obama sent his secretary of labor, Hilda Solís—a popular former Los Angeles lawmaker—to East Los Angeles to talk about immigration.
“In some way, we could say Latino voters are partly responding to what seems to be a renewed interest from the Obama administration in bringing up immigration reform, which has strong support in the community,” said Matt Barreto, a political science professor at the University of Washington and pollster for LD.
Nevertheless, some poll numbers reveal Latinos do not completely support the president’s position on immigration and the reform issue. In fact, the divisions run deep: 48% said Obama is handling the issue well, while another 48% said he is not.
Although 46% said it is understandable, given everything Obama has to address, that he did not fulfill his promise to pass immigration reform during his first year in office, another 42% are not so understanding; they think he should have included the issue in his list of priorities anyway.