President Obama has seen his approval rating fall sharply in one important category, and it could end up playing a big role in the 2016 presidential election.
A poll released this week by Gallup shows that 65 percent of respondents disagree with the way President Obama is handling immigration (The original Inquisitr report on the poll can be found here). That is the highest that Gallup has reported since it started polling on the subject, an increase of 10 percentage points since last summer.
The approval rating revealed that immigration is a largely partisan issue, with 60 percent of Democrats agreeing with the way the president handled immigration and just 25 percent of Independents and 8 percent of Republicans agreeing with the steps he has taken.
Obama has made immigration reform a major pillar of his presidency, but the issue remains very testy for lawmakers and for the voting public.
Obama’s plan includes a controversial measure that would allow anyone in the nation illegally to get a path to citizenship rather than deportation.
The plan, via the White House’s official website, reads:
The President’s plan builds a smart, effective immigration system that continues efforts to secure our borders and cracks down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants. It’s a plan that requires anyone who’s undocumented to get right with the law by paying their taxes and a penalty, learning English, and undergoing background checks before they can be eligible to earn citizenship. It requires every business and every worker to play by the same set of rules.
The shift in President Obama’s approval rating on immigration could reveal a major point of contention in the 2016 elections. Prospective Republican candidates have already begun attacks on President Obama as they lay the groundwork to show how they would differ.
Much like Democrats ran against the shadow of President George W. Bush and his legacy in 2008, as Bush was leaving office, President Obama appears likely to play a large role in a race he has no official part of. If Barack Obama continues to see his approval ratings drop, the attacks are only likely to grow sharper.
This would be especially true if presumed candidate Hillary Clinton takes up stake as Democratic nominee in 2016. Though Hillary has not officially announced her intention to run, she would be the frontrunner for the nomination and is already heavily tied to the Obama administration.
Republicans have already seized on Obama’s weak approval numbers on foreign affairs, attacking him on handling of the Iraq crisis and attacking Hillary Clinton on the scandal regarding the Benghazi attack.