President Barack Obama may be on track to helping deliver as much as 80 percent of Latino voters to the 2016 Democratic nominee for president, Politico reports.
Politico notes Obama's approval rating has gone up since his executive action
to protect 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation —
and his announcement of normalized relations with Cuba,
which has been welcomed by younger Cubans and non-Cuban Hispanics.
"When I reflect on the breadth and depth of what he has done for Latinos, it really makes him, in my mind, and in the minds of so many others, the first Latino president," Labor Secretary Tom Perez, the son of Dominican immigrants and one of the administration's highest-ranking Latinos, said after the president's immigration action, according to Politico.
Politico reports Obama's support from Latino voters has gone from 67 percent in 2008 to 71 percent in 2012, and that it could approach 80 percent in the coming year. But Gary Segura, the principal and co-founder of the polling firm Latino Decisions, warns Republicans risk fueling that increase with continued criticism of the immigration executive action.
"He’ll spend most of the last two years of his presidency defending Latinos and his executive action. He’ll look good, his party will look good, the opposition party will look bad," Segura told Politico.
Still, Florida Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart disagrees normalization of relations with Cuba is something Cuban-Americans hail, calling the outreach "a limitless willingness to appease enemies of freedom," and a "grotesque concession."
"There will be a first Latino president, and one of the things that Latinos want — it’s an American thing, but a Latino thing — is you keep your word," Diaz-Balart told Politico.
"If George Washington was the president who could not tell a lie, then history will record Obama as the president who could not say the truth."
Obama's immigration action came at a time when his numbers were slipping at the polls; a
Wall Street Journal/NBC poll taken before the midterm elections showed a 14 percentage point increase in the number of Latinos saying the country was on the wrong track, Politico reports.
Since the previous spring, Obama’s job approval among Latinos dropped from 62 percent to 47 percent.
In a poll
out Thursday, his approval rating was already up 10 points.
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