clock menu more-arrow no yes

One sentence that explains the politics of Obama's immigration actions

The president knows who his friends are.
The president knows who his friends are.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, a slim majority of Americans — 52 percent — approve of Obama's recent executive actions on immigration.

But the most revealing thing in the poll isn't how Americans react to the new actions; it's something that hasn't changed. From the poll release:

Approval (for the president's handling of immigration overall) among whites, meanwhile, has held essentially even in the last six weeks, now at 26 percent.

So a majority of non-Hispanic white Americans don't approve of what Obama's doing about immigration now. But they didn't approve of what he was doing before these most recent executive actions, either. Furthermore, the poll shows that 16 percent of whites approve of his executive actions, but still disapprove of Obama's record on the issue as a whole.

The point is that white Americans' opinions about Obama and immigration appear to depend more on how they feel about Obama than how they feel about immigration. So it's hard to imagine Obama's actions having a lasting political impact on non-Hispanic white voters.

The question is whether they have a lasting political impact on Latino voters — and there, the poll has good news for Democrats. Latino approval of Obama on immigration spiked 23 points over the last six weeks.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for The Weeds

Get our essential policy newsletter delivered Fridays.