Latinos have varied the most among Americans in their view over the years of President Barack Obama’s job performance, a new Gallup poll shows.
From 2009 to 2013, Latinos’ approval rates for Obama swung from a low of 49 percent to a high of 80 percent. They averaged a 63 percent approval rate for the period that the poll covered.
That 31-point swing during the five years marks a significantly wider variation than that of non-Hispanic whites and blacks.
Blacks showed the smallest variation, giving Obama the most consistently high approval rates, with a low of 84 percent and a high of 94 percent. That brought their average approval rate for Obama in the five-year period that the poll examined to 89 percent.
For whites, the average approval rate was 41 percent, dropping to a low of 34 percent and going to a high of 58 percent.
The shifting views among Hispanics are another sign of their dexterity when it comes to political allegiances. Though they tend to lean Democratic in elections, they have showed their willingness to vote Republican when a candidate in that party wins their support.
President George W. Bush, for instance, did rather well with Latinos, getting more than 40 percent of their support in the 2004 election. Many political experts said Bush – who had been governor of Texas – gained credibility among Hispanic voters with his outreach efforts and knowledge about the culture and issues of importance to many in the community.
“Hispanics are a key political target for both major parties, with the percentage of Hispanics of voting age growing, especially in certain states,” said the Gallup poll report.
In 2012, Hispanics voted for Obama over GOP challenger Mitt Romney by a margin of 71 percent to 27 percent, an outcome that many feel played a large factor in the Republican’s defeat. That has prompted soul-searching among Republican party leaders about how the GOP can win over more Latinos, who number roughly 53 million in the United States.
As for the U.S. population in general, the Gallup poll showed that among all national adults, Obama’s quarterly job approval average has had a range of 21 points, from a low of 42 percent to a high of 63 percent.
“His job ratings started high in his honeymoon phase in 2009,” the poll report said, “sagged to lows in his 11th and 12th quarters in office, recovered commensurate with his re-election in November 2012, and have sagged slightly since.”