PUBLIC POLLING ON IMMIGRATION REFORM

New Polling on President Obama’s Deferred Action for DREAMers Program

by Van Le on 11/13/2012

To:          America’s Voice

From:    David Mermin and Brittany L. Stalsburg, Lake Research Partners; Brian Nienaber, The Tarrance Group

Re:         Recent polling on the issue of immigration

Date:     November 13, 2012

View PDF of the polling results and PowerPoint presentation.

A national Election Day poll of voters by Lake Research Partners[1] demonstrates strong support for President Obama’s decision to stop deporting young immigrants who came to this country as children but are not legal residents.  A solid majority of voters support this policy (57%), including close to a majority (46%) who strongly support it, while only 26% are opposed. While Democrats are the most likely to favor this policy (75%) a majority of Independents (60%) and a substantial number of Republicans (35%) also favor Obama’s decision.

Earlier this year, President Obama announced that the U.S. government would stop deporting immigrant youth who came to this country as children but are not legal residents. To qualify, these young immigrants must pass a background check and be in school, or the military, or have a high school diploma. Do you favor or oppose this policy or are you not sure?

 

About one in four voters (24%) say this policy was either very important or the single most important issue to their voting decision for President this year. Democrats are somewhat more likely to ascribe importance to this issue, with 30% saying this policy was the single most important or a very important issue to their vote compared to 19% of Republicans. These data indicate that Obama’s action on this issue was a boost to him politically in this election. Not only was the decision popular, but it was a more important voting issue to the President’s supporters than his opponents.

How important would you say this new policy on young immigrants was in making your voting decision for President this year?  Was it the SINGLE most important issue in your voting decision, a VERY important issue, SOMEWHAT important, NOT TOO important, or not important AT ALL in your voting decision for President this year?

Of voters who say Obama’s new policy was the single most important issue in determining their vote, 75% favor the policy. Latinos, Democratic and black women, older voters, and those who live in New England are most likely to say Obama’s policy was either the single most important or very important issue to their voting decision. Of voters who oppose the policy, only 5% say it was the single most important issue determining their vote. Overall, 4% of voters say immigration was the most important issue in deciding their vote for President. 

Most likely to say Obama’s policy was a very important or the single most important issue to vote

Latinos – 38%

Democratic women – 32%

Age 70-74 – 32%

Black women – 31%

New England – 31%

There is a slight gender gap with women being slightly more likely to favor Obama’s policy (59%-21%). As expected, an overwhelming majority of Latinos favor this policy, but a majority of white voters (52%) favor Obama’s decision as well, including 41% who strongly favor the policy. This issue is also mobilizing for Latinos, 38% of whom say this issue was very important or the single most important issue to their vote for President compared to 21% of white voters.

Digging deeper into the subgroups, we find that the gender gap is actually driven by Republicans, as a majority of Republican men oppose Obama’s policy compared to 38% of Republican women. White women are also slightly more favorable toward the policy compared to white men, while for Latinos, women drive the intensity of support.

Digging deeper into the subgroups, we find that the gender gap is actually driven by Republicans, as a majority of Republican men oppose Obama’s policy compared to 38% of Republican women. White women are also slightly more favorable toward the policy compared to white men, while for Latinos, women drive the intensity of support.

Other notable differences are seen among younger vs. older voters with voters under 30 more likely to favor Obama’s policy (68%, 58% strongly) compared to seniors (51% support, 43% strongly). Looking at regions, voters living in the East South Central (45% support) and South Atlantic (47%) regions of the country are less likely to support Obama’s policy compared to voters in New England (64%) and the Mid-Atlantic (67%).

Voters who named education and immigration as their top issue in deciding their vote for President are more likely to favor Obama’s policy—of voters who name education as their top issue, 71% support Obama’s policy and among voters who name immigration, 73% support it. In contrast, among those who cite the federal budget deficit as their top issue (mostly Republicans), 40% are opposed to Obama’s policy.

In sum, despite the differences among voters noted here, we see broad support of Obama’s policy that extends across different groups, including among Republicans. This issue was a net benefit to Obama in the election and inspires enthusiasm among Democrats and Latinos.

For more information about this research, contact David Mermin at (202) 776-9066.

 



[1] Lake Research Partners conducted a poll of 1220 likely 2012 general election voters nationwide.  Live telephone interviews were conducted from November 4-6, 2012. Sampling error is +/- 2.8%, and is higher for subgroups. The Tarrance Group advised on all phases of this research.

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