Latinos Volatile on Their Support for Obama

Poll suggests GOP may have better chance than what had been believed.

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There's a ray of hope for Republicans as they court Latinos and try to recover from a miserable showing in the 2012 election. A new Gallup poll indicates that Latinos have gone hot and cold in their support for President Obama since he took office, suggesting that the GOP may not have a hopeless task in appealing to them after all.

The survey finds that from 2009 to 2013, Latinos' job approval rates for Obama shifted from a low of 49 percent to a high of 80 percent, and those rates averaged 63 percent over nearly five years.

Latinos voted for Obama over Republican challenger Mitt Romney 71 percent to 27 percent in 2012, which sent shock waves through the Republican party. That's because the Hispanic electorate is growing rapidly, and the GOP had overwhelmingly lost ground among Latinos after President George W. Bush won more than 40 percent of that group in his successful 2004 re-election bid.

[READ: Has the GOP Lost Latinos on Immigration?]

"Gallup analyses show that Hispanics are significantly more likely to identify as Democrats rather than Republicans," said spokesmen for the polling group in a news release. "Still, the fact that their approval of the job Obama, a Democrat, is doing as president varies from quarter to quarter considerably more than is the case for non-Hispanics suggests that they may be less fixed in their political attitudes than one might expect."

President Barack Obama

African-American voters showed the smallest variation in support for Obama among all racial groups, ranging from a low of 84 percent to a high of 94 percent. Their average approval rating for Obama, the first African-American president, over five years was 89 percent.

The job-approval rating among whites ranged from a low of 34 percent to a high of 58 percent, with an average of 41 percent.

 

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  • Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and on Facebook and Twitter.