While a majority of Hispanics – 56 percent – still approve of the president, that’s down 6 percent from the same poll in June, when 62 percent approved, and down 30 percent from April of 2009, when 86 percent of Hispanics approved.

Still, Hispanics remain more supportive of Obama than the general public, where the president has only a 47 percent approval rating.

In addition, the 35 percent of Hispanics who said they disapprove of the president aren’t as fierce in their disapproval as the rest of the population. Only 14 percent of Hispanics said they “strongly disapprove” of the job the president is doing, compared to 32 percent of the general public that says it strongly disapproves.

Hispanic voters made up a key part of the president’s base in 2008, and he’ll need them again in the 2012 election — especially in swing states such as New Mexico, Florida, Colorado and Nevada, where they make up a significant portion of the electorate.

Still, the president might be helped by the drawn-out Republican primary, as GOP candidates have tacked to the right with their anti-illegal-immigration stances.