The Washington Times - June 25, 2012, 10:06AM

A new USA Today-Gallup poll shows that President Obama holds a big lead among Hispanic voters in his general election matchup against presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney — and that unemployment and economic growth, not immigration, remain the top issues for these voters.

The survey of a random sample of 1,753 adults between April 16 and May 31 showed Mr. Obama leading Mr. Romney by a 66 percent to 25 percent margin.

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“Given the current dampened support for Obama among non-Hispanic whites, Obama’s ability to build support or, more specifically, registration and turnout, among Hispanics in 2012 is widely seen as critical to his ability to win re-election. Thus, both candidates are carefully wooing the Hispanic vote,” by Lydia Saad wrote in the poll analysis.

The poll follows the president’s decision to halt temporarily the deportation of some young illegal immigrant adults who were brought here through no fault of their own — a move that has put new pressure on Mr. Romney, who has refused to say whether he would leave the policy in place if elected. Mr. Romney instead has argued that Mr. Obama’s policies have slowed the economic recovery and made it harder for Hispanics to find work.

The poll found that Hispanics are more concerned about the economy than immigration — and that Mr. Obama also leads among these voters. Among those who cite unemployment and economic growth, the Democrat leads the former Massachusetts governor by 25 percentage points or more. Mr. Obama also holds a 75-point lead among Hispanic voters whose top issue is the division between the rich and poor, by 50 or more points among those who cite health care and immigration policies.

Mr. Romney, however, fares 20 percentage points better than Mr. Obama among Hispanic voters who see the budget deficit as their No. 1 concern.

“Hispanics are as supportive of Obama at this point in the 2012 presidential election as they were in 2008, making them a key segment of Obama’s 2012 coalition,” Ms. Saad said. “Thus, whether to encourage Hispanic turnout (in the case of Obama) or to make inroads with Hispanics in electoral support (in the case of Romney), both candidates are making obvious overtures to the Hispanic community with pro-immigration policies.”