Hispanics back Obama 2-1 vs. GOP hopefuls

Dec. 29, 2011 at 4:30 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Hispanic voters support U.S. President Barack Obama more than 2 to 1 when matched against some GOP White House hopefuls, a nationwide survey indicated.

Obama leads former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney 68 percent to 23 percent and Texas Gov. Rick Perry 69 percent to 23 percent among Hispanic voters, the Pew Hispanic Center survey indicated.

In the 2008 presidential election, Obama got 67 percent of the Hispanic vote and Republican nominee Sen. John McCain got 31 percent.

While Hispanic, or Latino, voters said they supported Obama, Hispanic adults overall said they disapproved, 59 percent to 27 percent, of his administration's handling of deportations of illegal immigrants.

The survey found only 41 percent of Hispanic respondents knew more deportations were occurring under the Obama administration than the Bush administration.

The United States has deported more than 1 million illegal immigrants under Obama, including 395,000 in 2009 and 387,000 in 2010, U.S. Department of Homeland Security figures indicate.

The figures are 10 percent greater than 2008's deportation rate and 25 percent greater than 2007's.

Hispanics accounted for 97 percent of 2010 deportees, Homeland Security figures indicate.

The record rate has drawn criticism from immigrant advocates who say the policy is tearing apart families and punishing harmless workers, The Washington Post said.

Administration officials say Washington is targeting criminals for deportation.

The survey did not measure support for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich or the other current potential Republican nominees.

Gingrich has taken a softer line on illegal immigrants than Romney, saying many with deep family or community ties should be granted legal status and permitted to stay in the United States.

The Pew poll found immigration to be "extremely important" to a third of registered Hispanic voters, but the issue generally trailed jobs, education, healthcare, taxes and the federal budget deficit.

It found two-thirds of Hispanic registered voters identified with or leaned toward the Democratic Party, while 20 percent sided with the Republican Party.

The survey of 1,200 Hispanic voters and Hispanic adults in general was conducted in English and Spanish Nov. 9 through Dec. 7. The margin of error for Hispanic voters was plus or minus 5.2 percentage points. For Hispanic adults in general, it was 3.6 percentage points.

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