Public Opinion on Immigration Reform

Polling Round-Up

Published by: America's Voice

December 13, 2011

Updated March 2012| PDF

By consistently strong majorities, Americans support comprehensive immigration reform.  Conventional wisdom has held that voters oppose this type of reform, but a look at opinion polls from 2008 to today proves that conventional wisdom is wrong.

February 2012—Arizona GOP Primary Exit Poll

In February 2012, CNN conducted an exit poll of 2,535 Republican voters participating in the Arizona Republican primary.

A majority of GOP primary voters in Arizona want some form of legal status for undocumented immigrants already here; a plurality believe they should be able to apply for citizenship. When asked what the best policy toward undocumented immigrants should be, 36% of Arizona Republican primary voters—a plurality—said they should be allowed to apply for citizenship. An additional 27% supported a guest worker program, adding up to 62% of Republican primary voters in Arizona who supported some form of legal status. Only 31% of primary voters supported deporting all undocumented immigrants.

Only 14% of Republican primary voters in Arizona consider immigration the most important issue to them. Twice as many voters think the deficit is most important, and three times as many think the economy is most important. When asked to name the most important issue to them, only 14% of voters in the Arizona Republican primary named “illegal immigration.” In comparison, 47% named the economy as the most important issue, and 30% named the budget deficit.

January 2012—Florida GOP Primary Exit Poll

In January 2012, CNN conducted an exit poll of 2,835 Republican voters participating in the Florida Republican primary.

Nearly two-thirds of GOP primary voters want some form of legal status for undocumented immigrants who are already here; a plurality support a path to citizenship. When asked what the best policy toward undocumented immigrants would be, 38% of Republican primary voters—a plurality—said they should be allowed to apply for citizenship. An additional 27% supported a guest worker program, adding up to 62% of Republican primary voters who supported some form of legal status. Only 30% of primary voters supported deporting all undocumented immigrants.

Only 3% of Republican primary voters consider immigration the most important issue. When asked to name the most important issue to them, only 3% of primary voters named “illegal immigration.” Sixty-two percent named the economy; 23% named the budget deficit; and 7% named abortion as the most important issue.

January 2012—Latino Decisions Tracking Poll

In January 2012, impreMedia-Latino Decisions conducted a tracking poll of 500 Latino voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.4%.

Immigration reform and the DREAM Act continue to rival jobs and the economy as the most important issues facing Latino voters. When asked to name the most important issues facing the Latino community, 46% of voters named immigration reform or the DREAM Act. Slightly more, 50%, named either “jobs” or “the economy.”

Over half of Latino voters say a promise to veto the DREAM Act would make a presidential candidate less likely to receive their vote; over two-thirds say a promise to pass it would make the candidate more likely to get their vote. When asked how they would feel about a candidate who said "The DREAM Act is a handout that rewards criminal activity by illegals with special benefits. If the Congress passes the DREAM Act, I will veto it,” 54% of Latino voters said they would be less likely to vote for the candidate. When asked about a candidate who said “We should not penalize immigrant children who came to this country illegally. The DREAM Act is important to give immigrant youth an opportunity go to college and earn citizenship in America and I will pass it,” 68% of Latino voters said they would be more likely to vote for that candidate.

85% of Latino voters support the DREAM Act. Sixty-six percent of Latino voters said they “strongly supported” DREAM, and 85% said they either strongly or somewhat supported it. Interestingly, the proportion of Latino voters who support DREAM “strongly” is slightly smaller than the percentage who said a candidate would be more likely to get their vote if he promised to vote for it. This demonstrates that immigration reform and the DREAM Act are seen as threshold issues for the Latino community, and candidates’ positions on them are taken as a sign of how much they respect Latino voters.

January 2012—Latino Decisions Florida Poll

In January 2012, impreMedia-Latino Decisions conducted a poll of 517 Latino voters in Florida. The margin of error for the poll is +/-4.4%.

Almost two-thirds of Latino voters in Florida—the most conservative Latino voters in the country—support a path to citizenship. Only 14% support criminalizing the undocumented. Florida’s Latino electorate is by far the most heavily Republican and most conservative Latino electorate in the country. But even in Florida, when asked what government policy should be toward undocumented immigrants, 64% of Latino voters said they should be able to earn citizenship. Between these voters and the 16% of voters who supported a guest-worker program, 80% of Floridian Latino voters supported some sort of legal status for the undocumented. Only 14% supported making all undocumented immigrants felons.

Seventy percent of Latino voters in Florida said a candidate who promised to pass the DREAM Act would be more likely to receive their votes. When asked how they would feel about a candidate who said “We should not penalize immigrant children who came to this country illegally. The DREAM Act is important to give immigrant youth an opportunity go to college and earn citizenship in America and I will pass it,” 70% of respondents said they would be more likely to vote for the candidate. When asked how they would feel about a candidate who said "The DREAM Act is a handout that rewards criminal activity by illegals with special benefits. If the Congress passes the DREAM Act, I will veto it,” 34% said they would be less likely to vote for that candidate.

January 2012—Pew Research Center

In January 2012, the Pew Center for the People and the Press conducted a poll of 1,502 adults. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3.5%. The margin of error for the subsample of 305 Republicans is +/-6.5%.

Immigration declining in importance for most voters, especially Republicans. When asked which issues should be a “top priority” for the President and Congress to address in the coming year, 39% of Americans mentioned “illegal immigration”—constituting a drop of 16 percentage points since 2007. This made it the sixteenth most important issue according to respondents, behind such issues as “moral breakdown,” the environment and tax fairness. Forty-eight percent of Republicans named immigration as a top priority, down from 69% in 2007; it ranked eleventh on Republicans’ priority list, behind improving the education system and reducing health-care costs.

December 2011-Latino Decisions Tracking Poll

In December 2011, impreMedia-Latino Decisions conducted a tracking poll of 500 Latino voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.3%.

Immigration ties with jobs and the economy as the most important issues facing the Latino community. When asked to name “the most important issues facing the Latino community that you think Congress and the President should address,” 42% of Latino voters mentioned immigration reform or the DREAM Act. Twenty-three percent mentioned jobs, and 20% mentioned the economy, making jobs/the economy and immigration by far the two top issues mentioned.

December 2011-Fox News Poll

In December 2011, Democratic pollster Anderson Robbins Research and Republican pollster Shaw & Company Research conducted a poll of 911 registered voters for Fox News. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3% across the full sample, +/-5% among the Democratic subsample and +/-5.5% among the Republican subsample.

Two-thirds of voters support a path to citizenship; less than 20% support mass deportation. When asked “what government policy should be toward illegal immigrants currently in the United States,” 66% percent of voters said that the government should “allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country and eventually qualify for U.S. citizenship” if they meet requirements including a background check and learning English. Only 19% of respondents elected to “send all illegal immigrants back to their home country.” (Thirteen percent of voters supported a guest worker program.) [Fox News]

A strong majority of Republican voters favor a path to citizenship. Among Republican voters, 57% chose the path to citizenship option described above. Only 26% of Republican voters said that the government should send all illegal immigrants back to their home countries.

December 2011-MSNBC Poll of GOP in South Carolina and Florida

In December 2011, Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion conducted a poll of 2,107 registered voters (including 635 likely Republican primary voters) in South Carolina, and 2,119 registered voters (including 469 likely Republican primary voters) in Florida. The margins of error for the poll are as follows: +/-2.1% for all South Carolina voters; +/-3.9% for likely South Carolina Republican primary voters; +/-2.1% for all Florida voters; +/-4.5% for likely Florida Republican primary voters.

A majority of Florida voters, and of likely voters in Florida’s Republican primary, consider it “acceptable” for a Republican nominee to support “limited amnesty.” When asked “Would it be acceptable or not acceptable if the Republican presidential nominee supports limited amnesty for some illegal immigrants?” 51% of all voters said it would be acceptable, while 42% said it would be unacceptable. Among Republican primary voters, 53% said it would be acceptable for their party’s nominee to support “limited amnesty,” while 41% said it would be unacceptable. [MSNBC; MSNBC]

Even in South Carolina, many Republican primary voters are open to candidates who support “limited amnesty.” As noted above, a majority of likely Republican primary voters in Florida and a majority of the general public said it would be acceptable for a Republican primary nominee to support “limited amnesty” for some undocumented immigrants. In South Carolina, overall voters were slightly more likely to say such a position would be unacceptable (49%) than acceptable (45%), and 48% of likely Republican primary voters said it would be unacceptable and while 46% said it would be unacceptable. [MSNBC; MSNBC]

December 2011-National Journal Poll

In December 2011, National Journal conducted a poll of 1,008 adults. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3.7%.

Two-thirds of the public want at least some undocumented immigrants to stay. When asked “Which one of the following steps, if any, do you think the government should take to deal with illegal immigrants?” only 25% of respondents chose “Deport all illegal immigrants, no matter how long they have lived in the U.S.” Thirty-nine percent, a plurality, said that the government should “Deport some illegal immigrants, but allow those who have been here many years and broken no other laws to stay here legally.” And 28% said that the government should “Allow all illegal immigrants to stay, provided they have broken no other laws and commit to learning English and U.S. history.” [National Journal]

December 2011-Pew Research Center for the People and the Press Poll

In December 2011, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press conducted a poll of 2,001 adults. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3%.

Two-thirds of public believe a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants should be among the government’s priorities in immigration policy. When asked what the priority for “illegal immigration policy should be,” 29% said “better border security and stronger enforcement” and 24% said “a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the U.S.” A plurality of 43% thought that both should be equal priority—putting 67% of the sample in favor of an immigration policy that included a path to citizenship. [Pew Research Center]

December 2011-New York Times/CBS News Iowa Poll

In December2011, CBS and the New York Times conducted a poll of 640 likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa. The margin of error for the poll is +/-4%.

Immigration is not a top issue for caucus-goers. When asked “Which one of the following issues will be the most important in deciding who you will support in the Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus?”, only 4% of caucus-goers selected “Illegal immigration.” It was the least popular of the six other issues the poll suggested and the “Something else” option. [New York Times]

Caucus-goers trust Gingrich, Perry on immigration. When asked “Which candidate do you trust most to deal with the issue of illegal immigration?”, 21% of likely caucus-goers selected Newt Gingrich and 20% selected Rick Perry—making the two candidates who have been attacked for their supposedly “soft” immigration stances also the two most trusted by likely caucus-goers. Fifteen percent of the sample named Ron Paul, and 13% named Mitt Romney; other candidates were named by less than 10% of the sample each. [New York Times]

December 2011-Washington Post/ABC News Iowa Poll

In December 2011, the Washington Post and ABC News conducted a poll of 858 potential Iowa Republican caucus-goers. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4% for the sample of potential caucus-goers, and +/-6% for the sample of likely caucus-goers.

Immigration is not a top issue for caucus-goers. Immigration ranked low among the most important issues for caucus-goers, with only 3% of likely participants ranking it as their top issue.  By comparison, 38% of likely caucus-goers named “economy and jobs,” 28% named “federal budget deficit,” and 15% named “social issues like abortion and gay marriage.” [Washington Post]

Gingrich’s immigration stance attracts twice as many caucus-goers as it repels. The poll listed a series of controversies that had arisen during the primary campaign, asking respondents if they considered each issue a major factor to support the candidate in question, oppose the candidate, or if it was not a major factor. When asked about “Newt Gingrich’s position on illegal immigration,” which includes a path to legal status for some longtime undocumented immigrants, 34% of potential caucus-goers and 38% of likely caucus-goers said it was a major reason to support Gingrich, while only 16% of potential caucus-goers and 15% of likely caucus-goers said it was a major reason to oppose him. [Washington Post]

Caucus-goers trust Gingrich, Perry on immigration. When caucus-goers were asked to name the candidate they trusted most “to handle immigration issues,” the most popular candidates by far were Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry—two candidates who have been labeled as “soft” on immigration by the rest of the field. Twenty-seven percent of likely caucus-goers named Gingrich, and 18% named Perry. Thirteen percent named Ron Paul, who has an enforcement-only voting record but has expressed discomfort with some hardline enforcement measures such as mandatory E-Verify and a border fence. Mitt Romney, who has launched most of the immigration attacks on his opponents and is currently portraying himself as a hardliner, was named by only 8% of likely caucus-goers. [Washington Post]

December 2011-Public Policy Polling Iowa Poll

In December 2011, Public Policy Polling conducted a poll of 572 likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers. The poll has a margin of error of +/-4.1%.

Only 25% of caucus-goers support mass deportation. When asked “Do you think people who have immigrated to the United States illegally but have lived here 25 years, have paid taxes, and have obeyed the law should be deported or not?”, only 25% of likely caucus-goers said they should be deported, while 44% said they should not be.  Twenty-seven percent were unsure. [Public Policy Polling]

Immigration not a top issue for caucus-goers.  Immigration was far from a driving force for Republican caucus-goers, as only 3 percent ranked “illegal immigration” as their most important issue when deciding their vote.  In comparison, 43 percent named “government spending, reducing the debt,” 27 percent “jobs/economy,” 9 percent “social issues,” and 4 percent “taxes.” [Public Policy Polling]

November 2011-Partnership for a New American Economy Iowa Poll (Selzer & Co.)

In November 2011, Iowa-based pollster Selzer & Company conducted a poll of 400 likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers for the Partnership for a New American Economy. The margin of error for the whole sample is +/-4.9%.

Immigration not as critical as other issues to caucus-goers. When asked whether a series of issues were “critical,” “important,” or “somewhat important,” Iowa caucus-goers were much more likely to label economic issues as “critical” than immigration. Forty-six percent of caucus-goers considered “Halting illegal immigration” to be “critical,” while 85% categorized “Reforming government spending and debt” as critical; 70% categorized “Creating jobs in the U.S.” as critical; 64% categorized “Encouraging the creation of new businesses in the U.S.” as critical; and 52% categorized “Reforming taxes” as critical. [Partnership for a New American Economy]

Iowa caucus-goers support measures to increase legal immigration. The poll did not ask about proposals to deal with undocumented immigrants already here, such as a path to citizenship or, alternatively, mass deportation. However, it did ask respondents about a range of proposals to increase legal immigration to the country for entrepreneurs, high-skilled workers, seasonal workers and foreign-born students educated in the U.S. All four of these proposals received the support of at least 60% of caucus-goers. [Partnership for a New American Economy]

November 2011- impreMedia-Latino Decisions Poll of General Electorate

In November 2011, impreMedia-Latino Decisions conducted a poll of 1000 registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

Majority of voters support path to citizenship for the undocumented. Asked whether they supported mass deportation, a guest-worker program or a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already here, 58% said they supported the option providing a path to citizenship. Twenty-five percent supported mass deportation, and 13% preferred the guest-worker program. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

Voters care whether a candidate matches their views on immigration. When asked how they would feel toward a candidate who agreed with them about the economy but said that “we can never support amnesty for illegals,” 41% of voters said they would be less likely to support the candidate. Twenty-five percent said they would be more likely, and only 19% said they would not care about their immigration position. When asked how they would feel toward a candidate who agreed with them about the economy and said “we need to treat immigrants with respect and dignity and help them assimilate into America instead of attacking them,” 46% of voters said they would be more likely to support the candidate while 15% said they would be less likely; 22% said they would not care about the candidate’s immigration statement. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

Over 60% of voters see “secure the border” as an excuse, not a legitimate policy proposal. When asked “When you hear some candidates say that immigration reform must wait until the border is completely secure, do you think that is a legitimate concern that needs to be addressed, OR they are using that as an excuse to try and block action on immigration reform?” 62% of voters said it was an excuse. Only 24% said it reflected a legitimate proposal. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

Majority of voters continue to support DREAM Act. 58% of voters either “strongly support” or “somewhat support” the DREAM Act. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

November 2011-Latino Decisions Latino Poll

In November 2011, impreMedia-Latino Decisions conducted a poll of 1000 Latino voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

Two-thirds of Latino voters support path to citizenship for the undocumented. Asked whether they supported mass deportation, a guest worker program or a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already here, 67% of Latino voters said they supported the option providing a path to citizenship. Fourteen percent supported mass deportation, and 14% preferred the guest worker program. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

Anti-immigrant sentiments seriously damage candidates with Latino voters. When asked how they would feel toward a candidate who agreed with them about the economy but said that “we can never support amnesty for illegals,” 59% of Latino voters said they would be less likely to support the candidate. Fourteen percent said they would be more likely, and only 15% said they would not care about their immigration position. When asked how they would feel toward a candidate who agreed with them about the economy and said “we need to treat immigrants with respect and dignity and help them assimilate into America instead of attacking them,” a stunning 76% of Latino voters said they would be more likely to support the candidate while only 6% said they would be less likely; 11% said they would not care about the candidate’s immigration statement. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

Two-thirds of Latino voters see “secure the border” as an excuse, not a legitimate policy proposal. When asked “When you hear some candidates say that immigration reform must wait until the border is completely secure, do you think that is a legitimate concern that needs to be addressed, OR they are using that as an excuse to try and block action on immigration reform?” 67% of voters said it was an excuse. Only 17% said it reflected a legitimate proposal. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

Latinos continue to overwhelmingly support DREAM Act.  Eighty-four percent of Latino voters either “strongly support” or “somewhat support” the DREAM Act. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

November 2011-Arizona State University Poll

In November 2011, the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University conducted a poll of 600 adults. The margin of error for the poll is +/- 4.0%.

Overwhelming majority of Arizonans support path to citizenship. When asked “Would you support or oppose legislation that would allow” undocumented immigrants who have lived in the state for many years “to be put on a path to becoming American citizens” if they met certain criteria, an overwhelming 78% of Arizonans said they would support it, and only 16% said they would oppose it. [Arizona State University]

October 2011- impreMedia-Latino Decisions Tracking Poll

In August 2011 impreMedia-Latino Decisions conducted a tracking poll of 600 Latino voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.0%.

Immigration, jobs most important issues facing Latino community. When asked to name “the most important issues facing the Latino community that you think Congress and the President should address,” 42% of Latino voters mentioned immigration reform or the DREAM Act. An equal number mentioned either jobs (30%) or the economy (12%). [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

Over three-quarters of Latino voters support new deportation policy. When asked about “the Obama administration’s new policy specifically asking the immigration agency to use discretion” in certain categories of deportation cases, a majority—55%--said they “strongly supported” the policy. In all, 77% of the sample said they supported it at least somewhat. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

October 2011-Fox News Poll

In October 2011, Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Company Research conducted a poll of 904 registered voters for Fox News. The poll’s margin of error is +/-3% for the full sample.

Strong majority of registered voters across the ideological spectrum believe DREAMers should be eligible for a path to citizenship. Sixty-three percent of all voters agreed that “illegal immigrants who have lived in the United States since they were children should be eligible for legal citizenship.” Thirty-one percent said they should not. Among independent voters, the split was even more pronounced, with 68% of independents supporting citizenship and only 27% opposing it. Majorities of self-identified liberals (78%), moderates (63%) and conservatives (55%) all supported citizenship. [Fox News]

September 2011-Resurgent Republic poll

In September 2011, Ayers, McHenry and Associates conducted a poll of 1200 Hispanic voters in Florida, Colorado and New Mexico for the Republican organizations Resurgent Republic and the Hispanic Leadership Network. The margin of error is +/- 4.25-4.90%.

Strong majorities of Hispanic voters support earned legalization. When asked whether they supported earned legalization for undocumented immigrants who met certain “strict guidelines” like registration, lack of criminal background, paying a fine, and learning English, strong majorities of Hispanic voters in all states supported it. Sixty-seven percent of Florida Hispanics said they supported earned legalization; 63% of Colorado Hispanics; and 59% of New Mexico Hispanics. [Resurgent Republic]

Hispanic voters strongly prefer comprehensive immigration reform to “border-first” measures. Respondents were presented with three ideas for bills: one that included border security and earned legalization “because any solution to the immigration problem must deal with all of the problems with our immigration system;” one that included border security and a guest-worker program, “because we have to address the need for immigrant workers if we are ever going to get control of the border;” and one that included only border security, “because we have to secure the border first.” In all three states, majorities of Hispanic voters preferred the first, comprehensive bill: 55% in Florida, 53% in Colorado, and 50% in New Mexico. Furthermore, the enforcement-only bill with its “border first” reasoning was the least popular option in all three states: only 19% of Florida Hispanics endorsed it, 15% of Hispanic voters in Colorado, and 17% in New Mexico. [Resurgent Republic]

Strong majorities of Hispanic voters support the DREAM Act. When asked about allowing “children of undocumented immigrants who have grown up in America to attain legal residency status if they complete college or serve in the U.S. military” (a slightly vague and misleading warning that ignores the fact that many children of undocumented immigrants were born in the United States and are therefore U.S. citizens), strong majorities of Hispanic voters in all states signaled their support. Sixty-seven percent of Florida Hispanics supported DREAM; 63% of Colorado Hispanics; and 59% of New Mexico Hispanics. [Resurgent Republic]

August 2011- impreMedia-Latino Decisions Tracking Poll

In August 2011 impreMedia-Latino Decisions conducted a tracking poll of 500 Latino voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.3%.

Majority of Latinos consider immigration reform one of most important issues facing Latino community. When asked to name “the most important issues facing the Latino community that you think Congress and the President should address,” 51% of Latino voters named immigration reform or the DREAM Act, making it by far the most common issue. Thirty-five percent mentioned jobs or the economy, and 18% mentioned education or schools. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

Three-quarters of Latino voters support path to citizenship. When asked “what government policy should be toward illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States,” 75% of Latino voters said the government should “allow illegal immigrants to remain in the United States and eventually qualify for U.S. citizenship” if they meet certain requirements. Fourteen precent preferred a guest worker program, and only 10% said the government should make all “illegal immigrants” felons and deport them. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

Strong majorities affirm only federal government should check immigration status. 68% of Latino voters disapproved of laws requiring state and local police to check immigration status, and a majority of the total sample—56%--said they “strongly disapproved.” By contrast, a 52% majority said they would “strongly approve” of a law prohibiting state and local police from checking immigration status; in all, 62% of the sample approved of such a law. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

Strong majorities support providing in-state tuition to undocumented students. Seventy-eight percent of respondents supported allowing undocumented students to attend college in their states at in-state tuition rates, and over two-thirds—68%--said they “strongly approved.” [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

A majority of Latino voters “strongly support” executive action halting deportations of all DREAMers. Fifty-seven percent of Latino voters would “strongly support” an action by President Obama to stop the deportation of all high-school or college-aged undocumented youth who has not committed a crime; 66% of all voters would support it at least somewhat. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

June 2011-impreMedia-Latino Decisions Tracking Poll

In June 2011 impreMedia-Latino Decisions conducted a tracking poll of 500 Latino voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

Majority of Latino voters consider immigration the highest Latino-community priority for Congress and the President. When asked to name the most important issue facing the Latino community that should be address by Congress and the President, 51% of respondents answered immigration.  Thirty-five percent of respondents answered either “the economy” or “jobs,” making that the second most common issue. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

Strong disapproval of police immigration-status checks. When asked about a law which would require state and local police to check on immigration status, 68% either somewhat disapproved or strongly disapproved. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

Strong majority of Latino voters support allowing undocumented immigrant children to qualify for in-state tuition. When asked if they supported allowing undocumented immigrant children who graduate from high school to qualify for in-state tuition rates if they attend college, 78% of Latino voters either somewhat approved or strongly approved. [impreMedia-Latino Decisions]

May 2011-Pew Research Center

In May 2011, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released a poll, “Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology.” The study is based on two surveys with a combined sample of 3,029 adults, conducted Feb. 22-Mar. 14, 2011 and a smaller callback survey conducted April 7-10, 2011 with 1,432 of the same respondents. The margins of sampling error for survey A and B is plus or minus 2.2.

Majority of public supports citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the country.  Respondents were asked: “Thinking about illegal immigration in the United States, do you favor or oppose providing a way for illegal immigrants currently in the country to gain legal citizenship if they pass background checks, pay fines, and have jobs?”  By a 72%-24% margin overall, voters supported a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the United States.  

When broken up by political typology as defined by the study authors, “Main Street Republicans” support a path to citizenship 58%-39%; “Libertarians” support it 66%-32%; “Disaffecteds” support it 65%-29%; “Post-Moderns” support it 87%-13%; “New Coalition Democrats” support it 80%-12%; “Hard-Pressed Democrats” support it 61%-35% and “Solid Liberals” support it 94%-4%.  Even “Staunch Conservatives,” the only type without majority support for a path to citizenship, are split: 49%-49%.  [Pew Research Center, Center for American Progress]

February 2011- impreMedia and Latino Decisions

In January-February 2010, impreMedia and Latino Decisions conducted a poll of 500 registered Latino voters in the 21 states with the largest Hispanic populations. (The Hispanic population of those states comprises 94% percent of the total US Hispanic electorate.) The margin of error is +/- 4.38% on the full sample.

Immigration ranked top-priority issue to be addressed. Respondents were asked to name the most important issues facing the Latino community that need to be addressed by lawmakers and the President.  Forty-seven percent of respondents named immigration, making it the most commonly named top-priority issue. Jobs and the economy (combined) were the next most commonly named issue, with 34% of respondents naming at least one.  Education and health followed with 20% and 12% respectively. [Latino Decisions]

Strong majority support DREAM Act. The poll found that 85% of respondents either strongly approve or somewhat approve of the DREAM Act, which would provide undocumented immigrant children a path to citizenship if they attend college or serve in the U.S. Military. [Latino Decisions]

December 2010-Boise State University Public Policy Center

Boise State University’s Public Policy Center’s 20th Idaho Public Policy Survey polled 525 randomly selected Idaho residents. The poll’s margin of error is +/-5% across the full sample.

73% Think We Should Allow Undocumented Immigrants to Stay In the Country. When presented with the statement “A program should be created that would allow illegal immigrants to stay in this country permanently,” 73% of respondents either “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” with the statement. [Boise State University Public Policy Center]

December 2010-Gallup

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 3-6, 2010, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 1,003 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

Majority of Americans support DREAM Act. When asked if they would vote for a law “that would allow illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to gain legal resident status if they join the military or go to college?”—a version of the DREAM Act—54% of respondents said they would vote for such a law. [Gallup Poll] 

November 2010 – Lake Research Partners Poll

In November 2010, Lake Research Partners conducted a poll of 1,200 likely voters that included questions about immigration. Polling was conducted by telephone October 31 – November 2, 2010.

Overwhelming majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents support comprehensive immigration reform including a path to citizenship. When given a brief description of a comprehensive immigration reform proposal that would include a path to citizenship, 84% of Democrats, 82% of Republicans and 80% of independents said they supported the proposal. [Lake Research Partners]

Majorities of Democrats, independents and Republicans support the DREAM Act. The poll found that after hearing a brief description of the DREAM Act, 81 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of independents and 57 percent of Republicans supported the bill. [Lake Research Partners]

A majority of voters think that immigration is a federal issue, not a state issue. The poll found that 56 percent of voters believed that immigration was an issue best dealt by the federal government. Only 20 percent believed the issue was best handled by the states. Another 19 percent believed both the federal and states’ governments should play a role. [Lake Research Partners]

More than three-fourths of voters said it was unrealistic to deport the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.  The poll found that 76 percent of voters agreed with the statement, “Deporting all 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States in unrealistic.” The majority of Democrats, independents and Republicans alike agreed with the sentiment: 83 percent of Democrats, 75 percent of independents and 70 percent of Republicans said they agreed. [Lake Research Partners]

Immigration is not a top issue for most voters. According to Lake Research Partners, “Immigration was not a top issue for the vast majority of voters. Immigration was the most important issue for only 2% of voters overall, including 1% of independents and 3% of Republicans. By contrast, the economy was the top issue for 27%, followed by jobs at 15%.” [Lake Research Partners]

November 2010-Latino Decisions

From October 28-November 1, 2010, Latino Decisions conducted a poll of Latinos in eight states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas) who were “extremely likely” to vote in the 2010 elections. The weighted sample produced 400 surveys per state and 3,200 surveys in all eight states, for a margin of error of +/-1.7% across the national sample and +/-4.2% across any given state sample.

Immigration is a top issue for Latino voters.  In each state, immigration was among the top two issues that voters said they wanted lawmakers to focus on.  Overall, 48% of Latino voters chose either “jobs” or “the economy” as a top concern, while 37% chose “immigration.”  In Arizona, immigration (45%) polled ahead of jobs and the economy combined (41%). [Latino Decisions]

Majority of Latinos said immigration was an important motivator of their voting decisions. Sixty percent of respondents said immigration was either “the most important” issue or “one of the most important” issues in deciding whether to vote and which candidates to vote for. Twenty-three percent said it was somewhat important to determining their vote, and only 14% said it was not important.  In Arizona and Nevada, 69% of Latino voters said immigration was one of the most important factors in their voting decisions.  [Latino Decisions]

Strong majority of Latino voters oppose the Arizona anti-immigration law. The poll found that 74 percent of Latino voters across the country opposed Arizona’s immigration law, while 17% supported it.  Only 9% had no opinion on the matter. [Latino Decisions]

August 2010 - Fox News Poll

On August 10-11, 2010, Fox News conducted a telephone poll of 900 registered voters. The margin of error was +/-3%.  

A majority of voters want the government to secure the borders and reform immigration laws at the same time.  When Fox News asked whether the government should first secure the border, pass new immigration laws, or do both at the same time, 68% of respondents said the government should do both. This extended across the political spectrum, with 72% of Democrats, 67% of independents and 65% of Republicans saying the government should secure the border and pass new laws at the same time. [Fox News]

More than two-thirds of voters favor allowing undocumented immigrants who pay taxes and obey the law to stay in the U.S. According to the poll, 68 percent of voters favor allowing undocumented immigrants who pay taxes and obey the law to stay in the U.S.  That includes majorities of Republicans (63 percent), independents (69 percent) and Democrats (75 percent). [Fox News]

August 2010 - Chicago Tribune and WGN Poll

In August 2010, the Chicago Tribune and WGN conducted a poll of 800 heads of households across the Chicago region.

A majority of Chicago residents don’t want police to seek out undocumented immigrants for deportation.  The poll found that “57 percent of the respondents did not want police to seek illegal immigrants for deportation.” [Chicago Tribune]

Overwhelming majority of Chicagoans support granting legal status to law-abiding undocumented immigrants that are already in the U.S.  Eighty-seven percent of respondents “believed that some sort of legal status should be offered to the nearly 11 million people in the country illegally, provided that the immigrants aren't dangerous felons, that they learn English and that they pay fines and back taxes.” [Chicago Tribune]

August 2010 - Ipsos Public Affairs Poll of Colorado

In August 2010, Ipsos Public Affairs conducted a poll of 601 registered voters in Colorado for Reuters. The margin of error for the poll is +/- 4.0% for the sample of registered voters; +/-4.6% for likely voters; +/-6.1% for the subsample of registered Democrats; and +/-5.9% for the subsample of registered Republicans.  

Two-thirds of Colorado voters believe that undocumented immigrants should be given a path to legalization if they have a clean record, pay a fine and pay their taxes.  The poll found that 64 percent of Colorado voters agreed with the statement “A person residing illegally in the United States with a clean record should be able to pay a fine, their taxes, and then have the opportunity to become US citizens.” [Ipsos Public Affairs]

Fifty-eight percent of Colorado voters oppose mass deportation.  The poll found that 58 percent of Colorado voters disagreed with the statement: “all people residing illegally in the United States should be detained and sent back to their home country, with no exceptions.” [Ipsos Public Affairs]

Sixty-two percent of Colorado voters want the government to deport only undocumented immigrants who have committed other crimes, and allow the rest to stay in the country. The poll found that 62 percent of Colorado voters agreed that “People residing illegally in the United States who are arrested for other crimes should be sent back to their home country, but the rest left alone.” [Ipsos Public Affairs]

June 2010 – Washington Post and ABC News Poll

The Washington Post and ABC News conducted a telephone poll of 1,004 adults over June 3-6, 2010. The margin of error across the full sample is +/-3%.

A majority of Americans support a program giving undocumented immigrants legal status if they pay a fine and meet other requirements.  Respondents were asked “Would you support or oppose a program giving ILLEGAL immigrants now living in the United States the right to live here LEGALLY if they pay a fine and meet other requirements?” Fifty-seven percent of respondents said that they would support the program, while 40 percent of respondents said they would oppose it.  [Washington Post]

A majority of Americans also favor Arizona’s immigration law.  When told that “A new law in Arizona would give police the power to ask people they've stopped to verify their residency status,” with half of respondents also told that “Supporters say this will help crack down on illegal immigration” and the other half told that “Opponents say it could violate civil rights and lead to racial profiling,” 58% of respondents said they support the law. Forty-one percent said they oppose it. [Washington Post]

Fifty-two percent of respondents think it is the federal government’s responsibility to make and enforce immigration laws.  When asked “Regardless of what you think about the Arizona law, immigration currently is regulated by federal law enforced by the federal government. In general, do you think STATES should be allowed to make and enforce their own immigration laws, or should this be left to FEDERAL jurisdiction?”, 52 percent of respondents said they believed the federal government should have jurisdiction over immigration laws, as opposed to states. [Washington Post]

May 2010 - NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo Poll

In May 2010, NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo polled 700 adults, with an oversample of 300 Hispanic adults. The margin of error was +/- 3.7% for the full sample, and +/- 5.66% for the subsample of Hispanic.

Sixty-five percent of Americans support allowing undocumented immigrants to become citizens if they pay a fine, learn English and go to the back of the line.  The poll found that 65 percent of Americans favor “allowing undocumented immigrants who are already in the country to pay a fine, learn English, and go back to the line for the opportunity to become American citizens.” [NBC News]

Sixty-one percent of Americans support the Arizona immigration law.  Sixty-one percent of respondents said they supported the Arizona law. Seventy percent of white respondents approved of the law, while only 31 percent of Latinos agreed. [NBC News]

May 2010 – AP/Univision Poll (GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media)

In May 2010, GfK conducted polls of 1,002 adults and of 901 Hispanic adults for the AP and Univision. The margin of error is +/-4.3% for the sample of all adults, and +/-5.3% for the sample of Hispanic adults.

Fifty-nine percent of the public, and 86% of Hispanics, support providing a pathway for citizenship to undocumented immigrants in the U.S.  When asked whether they favored “providing a legal way for illegal immigrants already in the United States to become U.S. citizens,” 59% of respondents said they favored such a proposal. Eighty-six percent of Hispanics were in favor. [AP]

Forty-two percent of respondents, and 15% of Hispanic respondents, support Arizona’s immigration law.  When asked whether they favored or opposed Arizona immigration law SB 1070, 42% of respondents said they supported it. Only 15% of Hispanic respondents were in favor of the law. [AP]

April/May 2010 – New York Times/CBS News Poll

The New York Times and CBS News conducted a poll of 1,079 adults over the period April 29-May 2, 2010. 

Over 60 percent of Americans want to allow undocumented immigrants to stay in some capacity.  T When asked to evaluate the statement “illegal immigrants who are currently working in the U.S… should be allowed to stay in their jobs and to eventually apply for U.S. citizenship, or they should be allowed to stay in their jobs only as guest workers,” 64% of respondents agreed. [New York Times]

The majority of Americans think that laws regarding undocumented immigration should be determined by the federal government. When asked whether laws regarding undocumented immigrants should be determined by federal or state governments, 57% of respondents said that the federal government should determine immigration laws, while 34% said each state government should determine them. [New York Times]

Thirty-six percent of respondents said the Arizona law went too far, while 51% said it was “about right.”  Respondents were asked: “The state of Arizona recently passed a law that gives police the power to question anyone they suspect is in the country illegally, requires people to produce documents verifying their status if asked, and allows officers to detain anyone who cannot do so. Do you think this law goes too far, doesn’t go far enough, or is about right?” Thirty-six percent of respondents said the law went too far, while 51% said it was “about right.”  Nine percent of respondents said the law didn’t go far enough. [New York Times]

Overwhelming majorities of Americans agree that Arizona’s immigration law will likely encourage racial profiling. When asked if they thought that Arizona’s immigration law “would lead to police officers detaining people of certain racial or ethnic groups more likely than other racial or ethnic groups,” 50% of respondents said they found this “very likely,” and another 32% said it was “somewhat likely.” Only 15% of respondents either said racial profiling was “not very likely” or “not at all likely” to result from the law. [New York Times]

May 2010 – America’s Voice/America’s Voice Education Fund Poll

In May 2010, Lake Research Partners and Public Opinion Strategies conducted a bi-partisan poll of 1100 registered voters with an oversample of 300 Latino registered voters. The margin of error for the poll is +/-3.5% across the sample of registered voters.

Support for comprehensive immigration reform is overwhelming.  When initially asked about comprehensive immigration reform, 57% of voters said they supported comprehensive reform and 18% opposed it. After hearing a description of the reform proposal, however, 78% of voters declared support for comprehensive immigration reform, with only 16% maintaining opposition. The support is broad-based, crosses party lines, and stays consistent across the country, with especially high levels of support seen among Republicans (84%-12% support) and voters in border states (81%-13% support). [America’s Voice and America’s Voice Education Fund]

A majority of voters supports the new Arizona law, but Latinos oppose the law in large numbers and with great intensity.  While overall voters favored the Arizona anti-immigration law by a 60%-23% margin (with an additional 18% expressing uncertainty), Latinos opposed the AZ law by a 55%-35% split (with 10% unsure). [America’s Voice and America’s Voice Education Fund]

Support for Arizona law comes out of a desire for national action to fix our broken immigration system. When asked why they support the Arizona law, a majority of those in support favored the measure because “the federal government has failed to solve the problem” (52%), compared to 28% who said because “it will reduce illegal immigration” and 12% who said “it w

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