President Barack Obama’s approval rating among Hispanics shot up 10 points to 68 percent after he announced his administration would offer deportation relief to an estimated 4.4 million undocumented immigrants, according to a weekly Gallup poll.
Obama’s surge in popularity among Hispanics follows a nearly two-year long decline from a peak of 74 percent in early 2013, according to Gallup. His approval rating among Latinos has hovered in the fifties since May of this year, dropping to a low point of 44 percent in the first week of September.
The Gallup poll, released Monday, covers the week of Nov. 24 to Nov. 30. Obama announced the changes to deportation policy in a televised speech on Nov. 20.
The figure puts Latino support for Obama some 25 points higher than the national average of 43 percent, and even farther above non-Hispanic whites, only 31 percent of whom currently approve of the president’s performance.
The results shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the Latino electorate’s views on immigration. Nearly nine in 10 Hispanic voters surveyed by pollster Latino Decisions last month said they supported Obama’s decision to offer deportation relief to millions of undocumented immigrants in the face of congressional inaction on the issue.
While opponents of immigration reform often try to play down the importance of the issue to the Latino community, arguing that the Hispanic electorate often rates having a job or health care as more important issues, the Latino Decisions poll highlighted how personal the controversy over immigration is for many Hispanics.
Nearly two-thirds of Hispanic voters know someone who is undocumented, according to Latino Decisions. One in three Latino voters said they had at least one undocumented relative.
The largest piece of the far-reaching executive action announced by Obama last month allows undocumented immigrants who have lived continuously in the United States for five years and have children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents to apply for a renewable three-year deferral of deportation. Those approved will be allowed to work legally in the United States.
Opponents of the unilateral action say they will challenge the decision in court, but many legal experts say the president’s authority to carry out the changes is firmly established.