WASHINGTON – President Obama is winning the opening round in the battle over immigration, according to a new Bloomberg poll, putting Republicans on the defensive with his decision to end the deportations of some illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
Sixty-four percent of likely voters surveyed after Obamas Friday announcement said they agreed with the policy, while 30 percent said they disagreed. Independents backed the decision by better than a two-to-one margin.
The results underscore the challenge facing Mitt Romney and Republicans as they try to woo Hispanic voters, who are the nations largest ethnic minority and made up 9 percent of the 2008 electorate, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of exit polls. Obama won the Hispanic vote 67 percent to 31 percent over Republican John McCain in 2008, according to exit polls.
In that Republican Party, there is a tolerance problem, said Carmen Nieves, 27, of Albany, N.Y., who is of Puerto Rican heritage and participated in the Bloomberg June 15-18 survey.
These are things that have to be done, and Im expecting them to be done, said Nieves. I see a person who is doing his job.
Obama, who has long backed legislation offering young immigrants a pathway to citizenship, announced an executive order forbidding the federal government from initiating the deportation of illegal immigrants under the age of 30 who came to the U.S. before age 16; have lived in the country for at least five years; have no criminal record; and are in school, high school graduates, or military veterans.