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Obama’s Latino Support Surges After Deportation Policy Shift

It’s still early in the period after President Obama’s announcement on Friday about halting some deportations for immigrants who came here as children, but so far it is being very well received in the Latino community according to a new poll:

The announcement has been met with a surge of enthusiasm, according to theLatino Decisions survey. Forty-nine percent of Latino voters surveyed in five swing states said the announcement would make them more enthusiastic about Obama, compared with 14 percent who were less enthusiastic, a net enthusiasm advantage of 35 points.

“We should be clear that these two questions were not meant to gauge overall support levels for policy, but rather how policy statements on their own, could change a potential voter’s degree of enthusiasm for or against the president,” the pollsters wrote.

The poll, or at least the portion of it released today, does not include a direct Obama-Romney head-to-head question, but the enthusiasm gap between the two candidates among Latinos is rather apparent:

[T]he survey also tested enthusiasm towards policy statements by Mitt Romney on immigration. Respondents were asked whether Romney’s statements calling on undocumented immigrants to self-deport back to their “home” countries, and to make immigration laws in Arizona a model for the nation, made them more or less enthusiastic about Romney. Among Latino registered voters in five key battleground states, 10% said the Romney statements made them more enthusiastic, while 59% said the statements made them less enthusiastic about Romney, a net enthusiasm deficit of -49 points.

As I’ve noted, Romney and other Republicans have been rather muted in their response to the President’s announcement, with Romney saying as recently as yesterday that he preferred making the move the President announced permanent via legislation while simultaneously refusing to commit to repealing the policy if he becomes President. It’s unclear what, if any, impact this might have on Latino support for Romney, though it’s hard to believe that Democrats will let them forget the comments that Romney was making throughout the primary campaign when he was pretty much an immigration hardliner.

The most recent poll of Latino support for the candidates, from Gallup, showed Obama getting some 67% of the vote from this demographic group, which matches where he came out in the 2008 exit polls. Romney, meanwhile garners only 26% in this  Gallup poll, significantly below where John McCain was on Election Day 2008. Yesterday on This Week, George Will said that Romney will lose if he gets less than 31% of the Latino Vote. Right now, he’s on a pace to be at least 5% below that and, if he doesn’t turn it around, he’s going to have a serious problem in November.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    Romney and other Republicans have been rather muted in their response to the President’s announcement, with Romney saying as recently as yesterday that he preferred making the move the President announced permanent via legislation while simultaneously refusing to commit to repealing the policy if he becomes President. I

    I suppose that Romney could emphasize the fact that his father was born in Mexico.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  2. legion says:

    And now Romney is explicitly saying he would _not_ overturn this policy. Because it’s shown popularity. Even though the hard-right anti-immigrants will scream “amnesty!!!”. Even though this policy is the better way to go, Romney’s support of shows nothing more than his absolute lack of any moral center. Just wait a few days until his xenophobic funders start to lean on him and you’ll see him cave on this point and go back to zero-tolerance deportation – guaranteed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  3. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    “Quid pro quo, Clarice. Quid pro quo.”

    I wonder how many people have thought of what all these newly-legal workers will do to the unemployment numbers. After all, we’ve had crappy unemployment figures with a shrinking official work force…

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 19

  4. LaMont says:

    @legion:

    You mean “Self-Deportation”…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Ben says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: As Alabama and a few other states who have tried draconian anti-immigrant labor laws have seen, most farmers and orchards can’t even get Americans (even though who have been unemployed for over a year) to do the jobs that illegals usually do. They basically shut down and can’t get workers for harvest.

    So give it a rest with the “STEALING OUR JERBS” nonsense.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  6. Ben says:
  7. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Ben: Interesting point, but utterly irrelevant in this case. Obama’s creating a whole new group of LEGAL workers here. Just how many of them do you think will be looking to do farm work?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

  8. paladin says:

    This move brings to mind this quote from Obama’s famous speech at the ’04 Democrat Convention:

    “…there are no red states or blue states, just the Balkinized states…”, or something like that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  9. LaurenceB says:

    @Jenos Idanian

    I wonder how many people have thought of what all these newly legal employers will do to the unemployment numbers. Sounds like great news.

    Or were you unaware of the fact that immigrants are much more likely to start businesses than native-born Americans?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  10. Barry says:

    @Ben: Seconding this.

    I can’t imagine the knowledge base of a guy (legal/illegal) who’s spent thirty years working the crops and managing crews.

    It’d be like a bunch of us taking over a factory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  11. Ben says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: False. All he’s doing is refraining from deporting them. That does not make them legal workers, nor does it give them social security numbers, work permits, green cards or a path to citizenship.

    So yes, they’re going to keep working in fields, because they’re still not going to qualify for any desk jobs or any jobs that pay them more than a few dollars an hour.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  12. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Ben: Then what the hell’s the point of it? “Sure, stay here. Don’t even think of trying to be self-sufficient, though. Find someone to sponge off of.”

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15

  13. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Whether fact, fiction, a temporary bounce, or merely wishful thinking, the only way this wasn’t going to be a political headline today is if the world had ended over the weekend.

    That aside, I found interesting the following portion of the last graf of this blog post:

    Yesterday on This Week, George Will said that Romney will lose if he gets less than 31% of the Latino Vote.

    Apparently “This Week” still is on the airwaves and apparently George Will has forgotten about the Electoral College and also that there are monumental differences between ex-pat Cubans in Florida and their descendants and Central Americans and their descendants in Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico. Romney could get less than 20% of the Latino vote nationally and yet still win the presidency. All Romney has to do is win the McCain states from ’08 (a virtual certainty) and then flip Florida (Cubanos generally vote Republican regardless of immigration policies), Ohio (Latino vote irrelevant), Virginia (Latino vote largely irrelevant), North Carolina (ditto) and, oh, let’s say, Wisconsin (Latino vote irrelevant).

    That all said, obviously it would behoove Team Romney to try to make inroads with the Latino demographic. Probably the most effective way to accomplish that is not to engage in pandering. The lousy job market in and of itself might do the trick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  14. john personna says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    It seems that GWB’s 2008 squeaker was with 31% of the Hispanic vote, per the “The Hispanic Vote in the 2008 Election” – Pew Hispanic Center

    So, it’s probably not unreasonable for Will to throw that out as a baseline.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. rodney dill says:

    @Ben: The Dream Act (and consequently Obama’s policy shift) is targeting benefiting educated long term immigrants so give it a rest to the “You’re only blocking immigrants from jobs Americans wouldn’t do anyway” nonsense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  16. john personna says:

    oops, data here:

    http://www.pewhispanic.org/files/reports/98.pdf

    Should not eat, skim, eat, cut and paste

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. nightrider says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: I’d be curious if someone could post an analysis of whether the Latino vote in NC and VA is really “irrelevant.” In a close election I don’t think that’s right

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. legion says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: So, working terribly difficult jobs for crap wages because red-blooded Americans won’t do them and also won’t hire them for anything better is now “sponging”? You got an interesting dictionary there, pal…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  19. PogueMahone says:

    It’s amazing what doing the right thing will do for one’s approval ratings.

    Politicians should try it more often.

    Cheers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  20. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @legion: Are you really that stupid, or just pretending? I’ll assume you’re sincere.

    Obama’s policy change here is to simply suspend the deportation of a fairly large (but finite) number of illegal aliens. They will NOT be granted amnesty or given work permits automatically (I apparently misunderstood that part), but will be allowed to remain in the US and, presumably, free.

    So, how will they support themselves while they are NOT being deported? They can not work legally. They are literally forbidden from legally supporting themselves. They will have to rely on alternate forms of income to cover food, housing, transportation, and whatnot.

    So they will have to depend on family, friends, or public assistance, as they will not be legally allowed to earn their own keep.

    I’ll go out on a limb here and say that that will be the next step: “temporary” work permits.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  21. Tlaloc says:

    So, how will they support themselves while they are NOT being deported?

    Jenos will be shocked, shocked, to discover that illegals are employed all the fracking time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  22. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Tlaloc: And I’ll be downright ASTONISHED if you tell me that illegals are employed LEGALLY all the time.

    Why do so many leftists who insist on their intellectual superiority seem like they can’t read plain English?

    That’s the catch-22 Obama is setting up — “you can stay here, just don’t break any more laws. Oh, and don’t get a job, either.” So — as I said — they have to sponge off someone just to get by.

    Or, alternately, they can work illegally and risk deportation over new charges.

    Which is why, shortly down the road, I expect a push for “temporary” work permits for these same people. After all, it isn’t “fair” to let them stay in the country without being able to actually support themselves, would it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  23. legion says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Yeah, what Tlaloc said – how do you think they’re supporting themselves right now?

    And for what it’s worth, I am vehemently opposed to “temporary” work permits or other things that create a set of literal second-class citizens. I’ve seen the results of that in other countries, and it’s never good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. Tlaloc says:

    That’s the catch-22 Obama is setting up — “you can stay here, just don’t break any more laws. Oh, and don’t get a job, either.” So — as I said — they have to sponge off someone just to get by.

    Or he acknowledges what everybody but you already knows- that nobody is going out catching illegals for working. You can live in your dream land where employers actually check for right to work or you can live in the real world, but they are mutually exclusive positions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  25. legion says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Why do so many leftists who insist on their intellectual superiority seem like they can’t read plain English?

    Perhaps because we can’t read the words that remain inside your head because you didn’t actually type them out. You clearly have an entire universe of subtext and straw men inside your head, but we can only treat the symptoms we can see…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  26. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @legion: They’re certainly not LEGALLY supporting themselves. As illegal aliens, they can not legally work.

    Let’s back this whole discussion up. They’re illegal aliens — that’s agreed. Therefore, by definition, they can’t legally work to support themselves. And since most of these are minors or young adults, it’s fair to assume that they’ve been supported by their parents and/or extended family. (The legality of those people and their work status is not relevant here — we’re only discussing the people covered by Obama’s “not-amnesty” move.)

    Those who are still minors will, presumably, still be dependent upon others. But those who are of legal age — to claim this immunity, they have to “come out” into the open. Once they’re in this program, they have to agree to not break any more laws. And that includes labor laws, which state they can not legally work.

    So they’re in a catch-22. To avoid being deported and stay in the US, they have to agree to obey the law. But if they obey the law, they can not support themselves.

    The obvious solution? Another step towards amnesty and work permits. Most likely, couched as “temporary” until their final status can be determined. And I expect that to be at least floated within six months. Not before the election, unless Obama feels he needs to reinforce his Hispanic support. Shortly after the election, I’d say. If Obama loses, it’ll be an “F-U” on his way out the door. If he wins, then as a payback for the illegal-alien lobby for helping him get his second term.

    It’s yet another really stupid idea that was sold as “compassionate.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  27. anjin-san says:

    As a lifelong resident of California, I am outraged that Mexicans have the nerve to want to live here. We stole California from them, fair & square…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  28. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Why do so many leftists who insist on their intellectual superiority seem like they can’t read plain English?”

    You know, if you find time after time that people who read your posts can’t understand what you think you’re saying, it’s time to consider the possibillty that the problem is not that every human being on earth is too stupid to grasp your genius, but that you simply don’t know how to write a decent sentence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  29. legion says:

    They’re certainly not LEGALLY supporting themselves. As illegal aliens, they can not legally work.

    Nobody’s disputing that. But the fact remains that they _are_ working right now. Changing enforcement priorities doesn’t alter that one whit.

    And since most of these are minors or young adults, it’s fair to assume that they’ve been supported by their parents and/or extended family.

    No, actually it’s not fair to assume that at all. People who are willing (and indeed, even prefer) to use illegals for their workforce aren’t going to be looking very closely to see if their illegals aren’t also minors.

    But let’s look deeper – I didn’t read the sources closely enough; there already _is_ an establishment of work permits:

    Obama’s new policy applies to undocumented immigrants under 30 years old who were brought to the United States before the age of 16, have been in the country for at least five years and graduated from high school, earned a GED or served in the military. The administration will begin granting work permits to those who meet the guidelines.

    Additionally,

    DHS said it will continued to “focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders.”

    Senior administration officials admitted that the deferral waivers, which would have to be renewed every two years, would allow a future administration to treat the same population differently.

    So, we’ve got a policy that redirects immigration resources away from non-violent people and towards actual threats to society, while giving people who came here to work permits to get legally hired (which means, I would point out, that their employers have to start withholding taxes, etc, rather than just giving them cash off the books) via a system that has to be reviewed every 2 years, further incentivizing them to become legal immigrants.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  30. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @legion: So we’ve come full circle (and I was originally right, then wrong when I said I was mistaken): Obama is adding a whole bunch of legal workers into the work force. Isn’t that just what America needs right now — a whole bunch of people competing for already-scarce jobs?

    Once this gets rolling, I can’t wait to see how the Labor Department jiggers the numbers to make things look better than they are. They’ve already shrunk the “official” workforce to get the unemployment rate to 8-point-whatever it is…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  31. legion says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Isn’t that just what America needs right now — a whole bunch of people competing for already-scarce jobs?

    It depends on how both workers and employers actually respond to this… we’ve already established that a significant chunk of the jobs illegals are currently doing just won’t get done (at the wage levels you can get away with paying illegals) if there are no illegals to do them. If they tend to stay in those positions, it’ll be largely a wash on employment numbers (though we might see a slight rise in tax revenues). If they don’t stay in those jobs, they still have to compete for those other “already-scarce” better jobs. And even if they have the qualifications, I don’t know how many employers will be willing to take a chance with someone whose ability to stay in the country at all is up for review every so often.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  32. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Why do so many leftists who insist on their intellectual superiority seem like they can’t read plain English?

    Why do so many rightists insist on setting up straw men like the one above?
    Do you have any examples of the “many leftists who insist on their intellectual superiority”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  33. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @legion: And even if they have the qualifications, I don’t know how many employers will be willing to take a chance with someone whose ability to stay in the country at all is up for review every so often.

    I would be astonished if determining such would be legal. As I understand it, employers are forbidden from asking a lot of questions of applicants, and asking beyond “are you legally allowed to work in the US” would be grounds for a massive lawsuit. Probably backed by the feds.

    Employers would be well-advised to simply not hire any resident aliens under 30 unless they are patently superior to other applicants. If they aren’t, then find a reason to hire a citizen or a resident alien over the age of 30.

    It’s not a matter of “fairness” or “compassion,” but simple self-interest.

    Actually, that’s not accurate. The odds are that the vast majority of those covered by this program will, eventually, be given amnesty and allowed to stay — presuming the Obama administration and the Democrats get their way. So it’s actually kind of safe to hire them — they’re going to be a new protected class.

    Whether or not it’s in the best interests of the US, that’s a whole ‘nother debate.

    But these workers are going to drive up the unemployment stats — until the Labor Department finds a new way to rig those numbers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  34. mattb says:

    @legion:

    But the fact remains that they _are_ working right now.

    And it should be noted that being enrolled in school full time is considered *working* (or at least not able to be counted as being unemployed). Illegal Immigrants who are in school are one of the specific groups that this decision was aimed at.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  35. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I would be astonished if determining such would be legal. As I understand it, employers are forbidden from asking a lot of questions of applicants, and asking beyond “are you legally allowed to work in the US” would be grounds for a massive lawsuit.

    Employers are expected to ask and document their employee’s status and check it against the Federal (and in some case State) immigration databases. There are no federal laws protecting Immigrants from hiring discrimination that I know of (beyond discrimination based on typically protected lines like race, gender, etc).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. Tlaloc says:

    Isn’t that just what America needs right now — a whole bunch of people competing for already-scarce jobs?

    Yeah! What possible good could it do to have demand in an economy!? I mean it’s just crazy to think that people who need to buy things adds anything to our current situation since …uh… you know, something about deficits and socialism or something.

    Damn foreigners took our jobs!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. Tlaloc says:

    It’s not a matter of “fairness” or “compassion,” but simple self-interest.

    funny isn’t it how it’s never a matter of fairness or compassion with a certain set of people…

    a set which, ironically, highly overlaps with those most strongly espousing a religion that explicitly requires them to e both…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  38. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Tlaloc: “Compassion” and “fairness” do not excuse “gross stupidity,” which this is in this case.

    Doing something “compassionate” out of a desire to be “fair” does NOT make a really, really stupid idea work. In fact, it often makes the bad idea worse — because it makes ending the bad idea almost sinful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  39. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Doing something “compassionate” out of a desire to be “fair” does NOT make a really, really stupid idea work. In fact, it often makes the bad idea worse — because it makes ending the bad idea almost sinful.

    So we should scour the country and round up all the children of illegals who have been here since infancy, and therefore have lived most of their lives in America, and deport them?

    That seems impractical to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. @Jenos Idanian #13: Good thing you don’t claim to be fair or compassionate, then, because it would be a waste of time.

    @mattb:

    Employers are expected to ask and document their employee’s status and check it against the Federal (and in some case State) immigration databases. There are no federal laws protecting Immigrants from hiring discrimination that I know of (beyond discrimination based on typically protected lines like race, gender, etc).

    As a newly-minted Permanent Resident who has been actively seeking work for months (and just found a job!) I can tell you that they are allowed to ask if you’re legally able to work in the USA but not allowed to ask to see Green Cards etc if the usual standard is a driver’s license and a SS card, for example.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  41. anjin-san says:

    @ That Other Mike

    Congrats on the new job :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. @anjin-san: Thanks! It’s been seven months, and a hard seven months, but I made it in the end!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. sam says:
  44. rodney dill says:

    @sam: Yes, their parents have caused these children quite a problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. mattb says:

    @That Other Mike:

    As a newly-minted Permanent Resident who has been actively seeking work for months (and just found a job!) I can tell you that they are allowed to ask if you’re legally able to work in the USA but not allowed to ask to see Green Cards etc if the usual standard is a driver’s license and a SS card, for example.

    Correct, but my understanding is that the employer is still required to check that information (from the licenses/SS card) against the federal database…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. Barry says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Then what the hell’s the point of it? “Sure, stay here. Don’t even think of trying to be self-sufficient, though. Find someone to sponge off of.” ”

    That’s odd, because I thought that they were working.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. Barry says:

    @john personna: Presumably you mean 2004, unless I was really, really misinformed about the ’08 election :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. Barry says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “So, how will they support themselves while they are NOT being deported? They can not work legally. They are literally forbidden from legally supporting themselves. They will have to rely on alternate forms of income to cover food, housing, transportation, and whatnot.”

    Is there some part of ‘agricultural labor’ (or construction, landscaping, etc.) which you don’t understand?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  49. Barry says:

    We should take a lesson from Jenos. it’s clear that the GOP base is rather hard-core on this subject. And it’s not for economic reasons. Ordinarily, the GOP doesn’t care about jobs or unemployment. They like, ah – ‘discipline’ in the labor force.

    But there just seems to be some special reason here. I KKKan’t figure out what it is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  50. @mattb: Yes, but they can’t ask for more from immigrants than non-immigrants.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0