How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Survey says: Latinos still favor Obama, and his same-sex marriage stance makes little difference

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President Barack Obama at a campaign event in Redwood City, Calif., May 23, 2012

A conservative group is capitalizing on President Obama's less-than-popular record on immigration as a way to appeal to Latino voters, while Republican candidate-apparent Mitt Romney is talking up the economy as an alternate way of reaching out to Latinos. But in spite of all this, a new poll suggests that Romney still has much ground to cover.

Released by NBC, the Wall Street Journal and Telemundo, the poll shows 61 percent of 300 Latino adults surveyed earlier this month supporting Obama for reelection, versus 27 percent who support Romney. Among other things, a majority of respondents gave Obama the thumbs-up for his handling of the economy. And as for his recently-stated position in support of same-sex marriage, that didn't appear to make much of a difference.

A few highlighted questions and results from the poll:


Will Obama's support of same-sex marriage cost him Latino votes?

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That's become one of the burning questions since yesterday's announcement by President Obama that he believes same-sex couples should have the right to marry, made a day after North Carolina legislators voted to outlaw same-sex marriage in their state.

Obama's announcement itself wasn't tied to any particular legislation, but it's been characterized as a political gamble in an election year. And some of the speculation has since moved to how such a statement from Obama will resonate in November with Latino voters, whose votes helped propel him to victory in 2008 - and who tend, at least as far as first-generation immigrants go, to be on the socially conservative side.

In the end, Obama's announcement may have less of an effect on Latino voters (and on black voters, also divided on same-sex marriage) than some might think now. The election is six months away, and recent polls suggest that Latinos are far more concerned with issues like the economy and jobs than with same-sex marriage, birth control, even immigration. Still, it's worth digging into some of the recent data.


Report: Latinos are more LGBT tolerant than we think

As conventional wisdom goes, Latinos are not the most tolerant group when it comes to accepting homosexuality. But this is more perception than reality, a new report says.

The National Council of La Raza and Social Science Research Solutions, a public opinion research firm, have released a survey suggesting that Latinos are not as unaccepting of LGBT peers or even of same-sex marriage as perceived to be, although those who are deeply religious are less tolerant, similar to the general population. And surprisingly, while the acculturation level of immigrants are plays a part, the level of tolerance doesn't vary so much between first-generation immigrants and U.S.-born Latinos. From the report:

With regard to support for legal gay marriage, Gallup has been tracking support within the overall U.S. population since 1996. They most recently found that 53 percent of Americans support legal gay 0% marriage. This compares quite nicely with our data on Hispanics, for whom 54 percent offered their support.

We found strong support for other policies as well in our data. Sixty-four percent of Latinos support civil unions. No less than 83 percent of Latinos support legal protections for hate crimes, job discrimination, housing discrimination, as well as support for healthcare and pension benefits for gay and lesbian couples. Over three out of four (78 %) support open military service.