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Latinos strongly back Obama despite frustration over deportations

(Xinhua)

10:43, December 29, 2011

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Latinos continue to lend strong support to President Barack Obama though they are dissatisfied with the administration's harsh deportation policy, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

Fifty-nine percent of Latinos disapprove of the way the Obama administration is handling deportations of unauthorized immigrants, compared with 27 percent who approve, according to the Pew Research Center survey.

Deportations have reached record levels under Obama, rising to an annual average of nearly 400,000 since 2009, about 30 percent higher than the annual average during the second term of the Bush administration.

More than eight in 10 of the nation's estimated 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants are of Hispanic origin, according to Pew estimates.

Despite their frustration over deportation policy, Latinos continue to support Obama over potential Republican challengers in the 2012 presidential election. In a hypothetical match-up against former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Obama wins 68 percent to 23 percent among Latino registered voters, the survey showed. And in a match-up against Texas Governor Rick Perry, Obama wins the Latino vote 69 percent to 23 percent.

Latinos, together with young and female voters, forged a coalition that helped send Obama into the White House in 2008.

The president had promised to push for a comprehensive immigration reform which will provide some illegal immigrants with a path to gain legal status in the country. But with staunch opposition from congressional Republicans, Obama has so far made little progress on the issue, leaving many Latinos disappointed.

The survey also showed a decline in Obama's approval ratings among Latinos. Today 49 percent of Latinos approve of the job he is doing, down from 58 percent in 2010.

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