Hispanic support for President Obama is strong over possible Republican opponents
Latinos surveyed disapprove of increased deportations under the Obama administration
The main issues for Hispanic respondents are jobs, education and health care
Latino voters strongly support President Barack Obama and his Democratic Party, despite dissatisfaction with the administration’s deportation policies, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Pew Hispanic Center.
The results are good news for Obama and Democrats for next year’s election, as Hispanics are the fastest-growing population group in the country and comprise a major voting bloc.
According to the survey, Latino registered voters favor Obama over Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney or Texas Gov. Rick Perry by margin of more than 2-to-1.
The results are similar to the presidential election in 2008, when Obama got 67% of the Latino vote compared with 31% for Republican candidate Sen. John McCain.
Hispanic voters have traditionally identified with the Democratic Party, and the Pew survey’s results showed that connection continues. It said two-thirds of Hispanic registered voters identified with or leaned toward the Democratic Party, while 20% felt that way about the Republican Party.
“It is interesting that among Latino voters, the voters who are registered, there is a lot of support for the Democrats, but also for Barack Obama,” Mark Hugo Lopez, executive director of the Pew Hispanic Center, said in an interview with CNN.
The survey of 1,200 Hispanic adults was conducted in English and Spanish from November 9 through December 7, and has a margin of error of 3.6%.
While showing strong Latino support for Obama and Democrats, the survey also showed Hispanics dislike immigration policies of the Obama administration, which increased deportations to 395,000 in 2009 and 387,000 in 2010.
According to the Pew survey, 59% of Latino respondents disapproved of the administration’s handling of deportations, while 27% approved.
At the same time, the survey found that less than half of the Hispanic respondents – 41% – knew that more deportations were occurring under the Obama administration than the Bush administration that preceded it.
A strong majority – 77% – of Latino respondents who were aware of the increased deportations under Obama disapproved of his administration’s policy, while just over half of those unaware of the increase also expressed disapproval.
Hispanics accounted for 97% of deportees in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
More than 90% of Latino respondents in the survey support the DREAM Act, a Democratic measure pushed by Obama that provides a pathway to legal residency for children of illegal immigrants who attend college or serve in the military. Republicans have blocked passage of the measure in Congress.
In the interview with CNN, the Pew Hispanic Center’s Lopez said that the most important issues for Hispanic registered voters were jobs, education and health care – the same as in past years.
CNN’s Catherine Shoichet contributed to this report.