President Barack Obama’s decision to suspend the deportation of some young illegal immigrants is a political winner with more than just Latino voters, according to a new poll released Tuesday.
The latest poll from Bloomberg was conducted after the president’s June 15 directive, which 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. In the nationwide survey, 64 percent of likely voters agree with the president’s decision, while 30 percent disagree. Sixty-six percent of independents — a crucial portion of the electorate that will likely decide the presidential race — support the policy.
Although Obama insisted that he bypassed Congress to advance the policy because it was “the right thing to do,” it is hard to ignore the political shrewdness of the move. The policy could prove to be a galvanizing force among the nation’s largest ethnic minority group. A poll on Monday showed Latino voters in five swing states are much more enthusiastic about Obama in the wake of the move.
Obama has also placed his general election opponent in a political quandary. Mitt Romney, who took a hardline position on immigration during the Republican nomination contest, has actively avoided the issue since the president’s Friday announcement. The presumptive Republican nominee may now be handcuffed, stuck between potentially alienating his party’s base — the Bloomberg poll shows 56 percent of Republicans oppose the president’s policy — and disenchanting a voting bloc whose influence on American elections will only grow. Obama’s move will affect upwards of 800,000 undocumented immigrants.
The PollTracker Average currently shows Obama holding a commanding lead over Romney among Latino voters.
Bloomberg conducted its poll on June 15-18 with a sample of 734 likely voters nationwide. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
Tom Kludt is a newswriter for TPM. A former research intern and polling fellow for TPM, he lives and works in New York City. Tom graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Dakota in May of 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. He can be reached at Tom (at) talkingpointsmemo.com.