De Leon: Why Latinos Are Not Into Obama

President Barack Obama Approval Ratings by Race (Gallup)

President Barack Obama Approval Ratings by Race. (via Gallup)

The president has been calling on Latinos and he’s learning that they’re just not that into him.

Gallup’s latest polls show President Obama getting his lowest monthly job rating since taking office. Only four in ten approve of his job performance. The polls also reveal a precipitous decline in his approval among Latinos, a bad omen for Mr. Obama and his party who rely heavily on the community for votes. Just last January, 60 percent of Latinos said Mr. Obama was doing a fine job. Now, less than half – 48 percent – assess his performance favorably.

This should not come as a surprise for the man who once promised si se puede!

He has not delivered on his promise to reform the immigration system and comprehensive reform was not made a legislative priority. The President could not even make headway with the DREAM Act, one of the least toxic immigration initiatives. His administration is on track to deport more unauthorized immigrants during his first term than either of George W. Bush’s two terms. The desperation on the administration’s part to prove its law enforcement bona fides to conservatives has allowed immigration opponents to frame the debate.

It’s disappointing.

The tough economic times has not done Mr. Obama any favors either. Latinos, like most of us, are hurting, but they are hurting much more. The unemployment rate among Latinos is 11.3 percent, two points higher than whites. The poverty rate for Latinos in 2010 is 26.6 percent, 15.5 points higher than the national average and 16.6 points higher than whites. The median household wealth among Latinos plummeted 60 percent from 2005 to 2009; it only fell 16 percent among white households whose household wealth is 18 times that of their Latino neighbors.

No doubt the president and his party will keep on calling, meeting with Latino leaders, promising they still can and will deliver, but how can they really convince anybody considering their track record? Anything they say rings hollow and it is too late to do anything to change minds already made.

Republicans have also been calling, but Latinos hear loud and clear the anti-immigrant rhetoric that drowns any GOP offers to the Latino community.

The bad news for the president and both parties is that many Latinos will  sit 2012 out.

You can follow Erwin de Leon on Twitter or read his blog.

AboutErwin de Leon
Erwin de Leon is a Policy Researcher and writer based in Washington, DC. He writes on immigration, LGBT, and nonprofit issues. You can follow him on Twitter at @ErwindeLeon.