President Obama’s low ratings on immigration

November 20, 2014, 12:43 PM GMT+0

The president’s approval rating on immigration lags behind his ratings on the economy and health care, especially among Democrats

President Obama’s scheduled Thursday night announcement that he will take executive action to shield about 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, will put the president out front on an issue where he does not have strong support. Barely a third of the country in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll approve of the way he is handling immigration, fewer than approve on other major concerns like the economy and health care, or approve overall.

More than four in ten approve of the president’s overall performance, his handling of the economy, and his performance on health care. About half disapprove of all three.

Of course, how Americans react on all of these issues is closely related to partisanship. But on immigration, there is surprisingly weak support among members of his own party. About one in five Democrats disapprove of his handling of immigration, more than disapprove of his handling of the economy or of health care. And while nearly half of Democrats strongly approve of how the president is handling health care, less than a third strongly approve of how he is handling immigration.

Independents are more likely to approve of how the president is handling health care and the economy than they are to approve his management of immigration issues. More than four in ten independents approve of his handling of health care and the economy; just 35% approve his handling of immigration.

The only broadcast networks that will air the president’s speech Thursday are the Spanish-language networks Univision (which will delay its broadcast of the Latin Grammys to air the speech live) and Telemundo. This poll suggests that the president needs to improve Hispanic assessment of his handling of immigration. Although a majority of Hispanics in this week’s poll approve of how the president is handling his overall job, just 45% approve of how he is handling immigration, and nearly as many disapprove.

The president’s weakness among Hispanics on immigration is not new. It has been a problem in Economist/YouGov Polls throughout the year.

See the full poll results

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.