January 15, 2009

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.1

Priorities for the Obama Administration

Latinos rate the economy as a top priority for the new administration.2 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.

  1. numoffset=”2″ 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.
  2. 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?”