Hispanics' Support for Obama Climbs After Executive Actions
Politics

Hispanics' Support for Obama Climbs After Executive Actions

by Justin McCarthy

Story Highlights

  • Approval gains 12 points from pre- to post- executive actions
  • Among blacks and whites, approval stays about the same
  • Hispanics' approval has fluctuated most since Obama took office

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Hispanic Americans' approval of President Barack Obama's job performance is up 12 points, to 64%, since he issued executive actions protecting some immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally from deportation. Whites' and blacks' ratings of the president did not change meaningfully during this time.

Hispanics1

Obama's executive actions, issued Nov. 20, will create a program that allows immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally to apply to work legally -- as long as they have no criminal record, have lived in the U.S. for at least five years and have children. The 4 to 5 million immigrants that qualify could also become eligible for Medicare and Social Security. Obama has said that his efforts to overhaul the immigration system could be supplanted by congressional action.

Since that announcement, his job approval ratings among all Americans have climbed two points. Given no change in approval rating among whites, and a small but not statistically meaningful decline among blacks, the increase in his overall job approval rating appears to be largely driven by Hispanics' opinions.

Although Americans overall are more likely to disapprove than approve of the executive action, a majority of Hispanics (64%) approve of it.

Hispanics' Presidential Approval Has Fluctuated More Than Whites', Blacks'

Hispanic Americans' opinions of the president's performance have varied more since he took office than has been the case among blacks and whites. Monthly approval ratings among Hispanics reached a high of 82% early in Obama's term in May 2009, and a low of 47% in September 2014. This 35-percentage-point range is wider than the 27-point range among whites and the 14-point range among blacks.

Hispanics2

Whites' approval of the president peaked at 62% upon his first month in office, and has reached a low of 31% seven times since November 2013. Blacks, however, have been significantly more approving of Obama's performance, reaching a high of 95% in June 2009, and with a low of 81% in October 2011.

Bottom Line

The president's executive action on immigration may have clear supporters and detractors among racial, ethnic and political subgroups. Even though Americans are more likely to disapprove than approve of the actions Obama plans to take on immigration, his overall job approval rating has not suffered largely because Hispanics have responded so positively.

It's uncertain whether those actions will continue to engender Hispanics' goodwill toward Obama. As a group, Hispanics' opinions of Obama have tended to vary more than those of other subgroups. His approval rating among Hispanics for the week of Dec. 1-7 was 60%, compared with 68% the prior week, although the smaller sample sizes on those weekly estimates make it premature to conclude that the surge in approval seen among Hispanics is staring to fade.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 21-Dec. 8, 2014, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 8,116 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

For results based on the total sample of 795 Hispanics, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how the Gallup U.S. Daily works.

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