President Barack Obama's approval rating among Latinos has spiked dramatically in the wake of his announcement that he will exercise his executive authority to spare up to 5 million unauthorized immigrants from deportation.
According to the latest Gallup poll, conducted from November 24-30, 68 percent of Latinos approve of the president's job performance. That's up sharply from a Gallup poll conducted November 3-9, which found that Obama's approval among Latinos was just 49 percent.
On November 20, Obama unveiled his plans for executive action on immigration, a core concern of the crucial Democratic constituency. The president announced that the U.S. would focus its resources on deporting criminals and unauthorized immigrants who recently arrived in the U.S., while showing leniency for those who have resided in the U.S. for at least five years and have children who are citizens. Obama also plans to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for those brought to the U.S. as minors.
Obama originally planned to take executive action on the issue prior to the midterm elections, but he bowed to pressure from moderate and conservative Democrats and decided to wait until after the elections to release his plan. Immigration advocates fiercely criticized the decision, arguing that it would dampen Latino support for Democrats and needlessly leave immigrants in limbo.
While Obama, who won 71 percent of the Latino vote in his 2012 re-election campaign, can't run for office again, his approval rating among Latinos remains a key gauge of the demographic group's enthusiasm for Democrats ahead of the 2016 election. Amid declining turnout, just 63 percent of Latino voters picked Democratic House candidates this year; the party aims to drive up its support among the constituency as it seeks to retain the White House and recapture the Senate in two years.