Obama Slipping Among Latinos

A new poll shows that worry about jobs and immigration reform are hurting the president's approval ratings.

By Daisy Hernandez Jul 28, 2010

A new poll by Univision and the Associated Press suggests that Obama and Democrats might have to fight, at least a little, for the Latino vote come November.

While 57 percent still approve of the job Obama is doing, according to the AP-Univision poll, that’s down from the close to 70 percent that Gallup pollsters recorded in January. The reasons are simple: the economy and immigration reform.

Of the 1,500 Latinos polled in English and Spanish by the AP and Univision, 45 percent said they or a family member had lost a job since last September, compared to 30 percent for the overall population. Naturally, that’s put a terrible strain on families. Close to half of the Latinos polled said they worry about being able to pay their bills now.

On immigration, the poll found a split between English and Spanish speakers. Among those speaking English, about 40 percent approved of Obama’s work on their key issues before Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, was signed into law. The figure rose to 52 percent  in the weeks after as Obama voiced opposition to the legislation.

This is in line with what Gallup pollsters uncovered last month.

Obama’s big dip among Latinos was in February, after his State of the Union silence on immigration reform, and in May, as he was being criticized for not doing more about Arizona’s new law. But the large drop in support happened among Latinos who are mainly Spanish speakers.

Obama’s lost 21 points in his approval rating among Spanish-speaking Latinos since January– compared to 5 points for English-speaking Latinos.

It’s probably time for Obama to take a cue from California gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman and start working on those Spanish ads.