Support among Latino voters for President Obama, his immigration policies, and Democrats in the House jumped significantly after the June 15 announcement that the federal government would stop deporting young illegal immigrants, according to a survey released on Wednesday.
In a conference call announcing the latest results from a poll of Latino voters in five key battleground states, there was a “very visible” shift in the data after the Homeland Security Department announcement, suggesting that it did indeed boost Latino support for Obama, said Matt Barreto, principal at Latino Decisions, which conducted the survey in partnership with the left-leaning organization America’s Voice.
The poll interviewed 2000 eligible Latino voters divided among Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Virginia between June 12 and 21. The weeklong sampling included respondents who answered questions before and after the DHS announcement.
Before June 15, there was an even split among Latino voters polled, 45 percent to 42 percent, with the slight majority saying they approved of Obama’s immigration policies. After June 15, support for his policies rose to 61 percent, versus 30 percent who disapproved.
The aftereffects of Obama’s announcement also translated into support for the House, with 59 percent saying they would be inclined to vote Democratic, and 22 percent leaning Republican. This was about a 10 percent increase in support for the Democrats after June 15, the survey found.
With all of the data combined, Obama maintains his majority among Latino voters in these states; 63 percent said that they would vote for him. Both the Senate and House also have majorities leaning to the left -- 55 percent and 56 percent, respectively.
But the poll also found a good pocket of undecided voters. Ten percent remained undecided on their vote for president, while 17 percent and 19 percent were undecided for the Senate and House, respectively.
Enthusiasm also increased after June 15, according to the poll. In November 2011, 47 percent of Latinos said they were “very enthusiastic” about voting in the election. After the announcement, the number of “very enthusiastic” voters jumped to 63 percent.
While voters in this poll show an upward trend in enthusiasm, it remains to be seen whether Obama can translate this to the polls in November. Primaries in states with large Hispanic populations, including Texas and California, suffered huge hits in voter turnout.
The question looming over Obama's head is whether he will be able to ride the momentum he won this month. Romney and other critics have consistently maintained that Obama’s executive order was merely a distraction from a still-faltering economy, which is still the No. 1 issue of concern among Latinos--as well as the general public. With five months until the general election, both Romney and Obama have a long way to go.