Released: January 15, 2009
Immigration Slips as a Top Priority
Hispanics and the New Administration
II. Looking Forward: The Obama Administration
Latinos are optimistic about the incoming Obama administration. Seventy-two percent believe that Barack Obama will have a successful first term, while 13% expect his first term to be unsuccessful.
Both native-born and foreign-born Latinos hold equally positive perspectives on the Obama administration. Seventy-three percent of the native born foresee success for Obama, as do 72% of the foreign born.
A sense of optimism is especially pervasive among young Latinos. Eighty-one percent of Latinos ages 18 to 29 expect him to succeed, compared with 75% of those ages 30 to 39; 63 percent of those ages 40 to 54; and 72% of those ages 55 and older.
Latinos with less education are more positive about the incoming administration than are Latinos with a college degree. Nearly eight-in-ten (78%) Hispanics who lack a high school diploma and 73% with only a high school diploma foresee success for Obama, compared with 55% who have a college degree.
Men are less optimistic than women about the future success of the Obama administration–67% versus 77%.
Latino Republicans are less optimistic than Democrats or independents about Obama’s ability to succeed. Even so, almost half (48%) of Latino Republicans expect Obama to be successful in his first term. In comparison, this number rises to 80% among Democrats and 72% among independents.2
Priorities for the Obama Administration
Latinos rate the economy as a top priority for the new administration.3 Ninety-eight percent identify the economy as extremely (57%), very (38%) or somewhat important (3%). Education is also a top priority; 98% of Latinos see it as an important issue, and 51% identify it as extremely important. Health care ranks next, with 97% of Latinos stating that it is an important issue. National security (96%) and the environment (93%) are also high priorities on the list of political issues. Energy policy ranks relatively low among Hispanics compared with other issues, though a sizable proportion—87%—consider it important.
Among Latinos, immigration ranks near the bottom of the seven issues in order of importance, just above energy policy. However, while immigration is not identified as a top issue, nearly nine-in-ten Latinos (88%) cite it as important, with 31% considering it extremely important. Among immigrants, the overall concern with immigration is slightly higher: 89% state that it is an important issue, and about one-third (31%) consider it extremely important. In comparison, three-fourths (86%) of the native born cite immigration as an important issue, with 30% stating that it is extremely important.
- For this question, survey respondents were asked only which party they identify with. No information is available to identify independents who lean toward either the Republican or Democratic parties. ↩
- Survey respondents were asked the following question regarding each of seven issues: “I’d like to ask you some questions about priorities for the new Obama administration. For each item I name, please tell me how important you think the issue is for the new administration. Is the issue of (INSERT ITEM) extremely important, very important, somewhat important, or not too important?” ↩