That's according to a new poll by Latino Decisions, for Presente.org and Mi Familia Vota, the first of Latino voters since Obama announced sweeping executive actions, given to BuzzFeed News ahead of its announcement on Monday. The poll found that 89% of Latino voters support Obama's decision to give temporary legal status to nearly five million undocumented immigrants. That level of support surprised Latino Decisions co-founder Matt Barreto, who noted the figure is higher than initial support of the president's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protected undocumented youth brought to the country as children from deportation and allowed them to receive work permits.
Just a week after the 2014 midterms, a Pew Research Center report found that nearly half of Latinos (47%) said there probably won't be much of a difference between President Obama and congressional Republicans when it comes to immigration policy.
Quite a bit has changed over the last two weeks. Adrian Carrasquillo reported yesterday on new survey data that shows "Latino voters have Obama's back again."
"This is the most unified we have seen Latino public opinion on any issue," Barreto told BuzzFeed News. "DACA registered 84%, this is even higher. The White House was smart to put this step to protect parents -- almost nobody in the Latino community is going to say they don't support a policy to keep parents and children together."
The poll was conducted Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of last week. President Obama unveiled his new policy on Thursday night.
Of particular interest was the partisan breakdown.
Among Latinos who describe themselves as Democrats, Obama's policy enjoys effectively 100% support, but let's not overlook the fact that 76% of Republican Latinos support the president's approach. What's more, 60% of Latino GOP voters do not want to see their party block the White House's measure by cutting off funding for the policy.
If the poll is accurate -- and all the usual caveats certainly apply -- it further helps explain Republican apoplexy. The GOP isn't just angry about made-up "amnesty" and procedural concerns they've struggled to articulate; the right is also worried about the electoral consequences.
If Republicans had agreed to move forward on a popular, bipartisan compromise, both parties stood to benefit. But the GOP refused to even consider governing, leaving Obama to act alone -- and enjoy the benefits without sharing.
Paul Waldman added, "Right now, Barack Obama is doing something to offer protection to millions of undocumented people who are terrified of seeing their families broken up. Meanwhile, Republicans are the ones protesting and essentially arguing that those people should be deported. Which is why Republicans would rather not be having this discussion at all.... It may be a while before we understand just how much impact this current debate has on Latinos' views of the two parties, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a Republican who thinks it won't be bad for the GOP."