More than two-thirds of Hispanic voters would cast their ballots for incumbent Barack Obama if the presidential elections were held now, while fewer than a quarter would opt for Republican Mitt Romney, according to a survey released Wednesday.
Over the past two months, more and more Latino voters say they have decided to vote for Obama, from 61 percent in May to 67 percent in July, and those expressing confidence in Romney have fallen from 27 percent to 23 percent, the NBC-Wall Street Journal-Telemundo survey found.
Many observers say the Hispanic vote will be decisive in the November election.
A month ago, the president approved an executive order suspending the deportations of a substantial number of undocumented immigrant young people who arrived in the United States as minors, and his job approval rating among Hispanics rose to 65 percent.
Now, that popularity level has declined slightly to 62 percent overall, and it stands at 58 percent on economic policy.
In fact, the economy is the area where surveys show that voters are putting less confidence in the incumbent, as only 48 percent believe that Obama has or will put forward good economic ideas, compared with 25 percent who say the same about Romney.
On other issues, the differences between Obama and Romney are intensifying: 69 percent of Hispanics feel that Obama looks out more for the middle class, 55 percent say he has more aptitude for dealing with immigration policy and 61 percent say he is handling the issue of health care better than his rival.
Despite that, 40 percent of Hispanic admit they have "mixed feelings" about the recent Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of Obama's health care reform, while 37 percent are satisfied with it and 16 percent are disappointed.
A mere 15 percent of Hispanics express support for Romney's foreign policy positions.
Six out of every 10 Hispanics approve of the Obama administration's handling of foreign affairs, up from 50 percent six months ago.
In sum, 64 percent of the Latino voters questioned have a positive view of Obama and 22 percent think favorably of Romney.
The political figure who garners the most support among Hispanics is first lady Michelle Obama with a 69 percent favorable rating, quite a bit higher than Ann Romney, the wife of the Republican candidate, who has just a 20 percent approval rating among the Latino electorate.
Sixty-four percent say they prefer a Congress with a Democratic majority compared with 24 percent who are in favor of Republican control of the legislative branch.
The survey released Wednesday emphasizes that interest in the presidential race has grown among Latino voters to 68 percent, which is below the national average.
To date, the monthly NBC-Journal-Telemundo survey has detected a lesser interest in the current election cycle than in the 2008 election and in July 49 percent of Hispanics said they were "very interested," 10 percentage points below four years ago.
The survey was carried out among 300 registered voters and its margin of error was plus/minus 5.6 percent.