Source: impreMedia-Latino Decisions Tracking Poll, June 9, 2011
The results of a nationwide poll of Latino voters released last week found immigration to be a personal issue for many. Among other things, out of a sample of 500 registered voters in 21 states, 53 percent said they knew someone who is undocumented, and one-fourth said they knew a person or family who has faced immigrant detention or deportation.
Today, the polling firm Latino Decisions and impreMedia, parent company of the Spanish-language Los Angeles newspaper La Opinión, announced more detailed results from their most recent joint tracking poll.
These provided a sampling of Latino voters' opinions of President Obama, in particular their opinions of his handling of immigration issues.
From a summary of the results, some highlights:
48% approve of Obama's handling of immigration issue; 38% disapprove
48% say Democrats are doing a good job of outreach to Hispanics; 31% say Democrats don't care too much; 7% say Dems are being hostile
12% say Republicans are doing a good job of outreach to Hispanics; 49% say GOP doesn't care too much; 23% say GOP is being hostile
46% think the lack of immigration reform since '08 is understandable given all the issues facing the country; 42% say Obama should have pushed harder to pass reform
50% think immigration reform has not passed because Republicans are blocking passage; 33% think it has not passed because Obama did not push hard enough
51% think the President's recent outreach on immigration is a serious attempt to pass reform; 41% think the President is just saying what Latinos want to hear because the election is approaching
55% say Republican calls for increased border security is an excuse to block immigration reform; 30% think increasing border security is a legitimate concern
President Obama's speech in El Paso, Texas today regarding immigration reform has been characterized by some as an effort to appeal to Latino voters while defending his immigration record. And for good reason, a new poll indicates, because the Latino electorate remains focused on immigration as a front-burner issue.
The poll measured the importance of immigration as a federal policy issue with different subsets of Latino voters; it is one of a series of tracking polls conducted by impreMedia (the parent company of La Opinión) and the polling firm Latino Decisions.
According to the results, Latino voters who were asked to identify the most important issues that leaders in Washington, D.C. should address placed immigration at the top of the list overall, above the economy, education and health care.
Photo by paparatti/Flickr (Creative Commons)
In John F. Kennedy's day, it was the anti-Catholics who dogged the Irish American presidential candidate, raising fears that having a Catholic descendant of immigrants in the White House could mean a United States under the influence of the Vatican and a compromise of the firewall between church and state.
It was referred to as religious bigotry. But it had only been a matter of decades then since Irish immigrants were accepted into mainstream society. While the controversy was over religion, Kennedy's Irish roots lay close to the surface of the debate.
The same can be said for Barack Obama's half-Kenyan roots today, amid the so-called "birther" debate that has prompted the White House to release the president's long-form birth certificate. The accusation that Obama was not born in Hawaii, but in his father's native Kenya, has dogged him since his campaign days, prompting him back in 2008 to release the more easily obtained short-form birth certificate.
Photo by rob.rudloff/Flickr (Creative Commons)
Barack Obama on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania, October 2008
More than a hundred comments have been posted so far in reaction to an interesting opinion piece today from the Los Angeles Times' Gregory Rodriguez on how "the most famous mixed-race person in the world," President Obama, identified himself racially on his census form last year. He checked off only one race, black. From the piece:
It could have been a historic teaching moment. Instead, President Obama, the most famous mixed-race person in the world, checked off only one race — black — last year on his census form. And in so doing, he missed an opportunity to articulate a more nuanced racial vision for the increasingly diverse country he heads.
The president also bucked a trend. Last month, the Census Bureau announced that the number of Americans who identified themselves as being of more than one race in 2010 grew about 32% over the last decade. The number of people who identified as both white and black jumped an astounding 134%. And nearly 50% more children were identified as multiracial on this census, making that category the fastest-growing youth demographic in the country.
To be sure, the number of people — 9 million, or 2.9% of the population — who identified themselves as of more than one race on their census form is still small. But the trend is clear.