June 1, 2009



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Polling Roundup: September ’08 – December ’09

By consistently strong majorities, Americans want a fair, common sense plan to fix our broken immigration system.  In 2009 as in previous years, voters want the President and Congress to advance an immigration plan that legalizes the undocumented workforce and requires them to pay taxes; levels the playing field for workers and employers; and restores the rule of law.  The same was true in the run-up to the 2008 elections, when swing voters chose candidates who offered practical solutions to the broken immigration system over those who offered just empty rhetoric. 

New Latino Voter Poll, Updated Research

New polling and updated analysis by America’s Voice and America’s Voice Education Fund show that Latino voters are poised to play a major role in politics in 2010 and beyond. The updated research reveals how Latinos will impact the 2010 Census and 2010 Elections, as well as how they view parties and the issue of immigration reform.

America’s Voice | America’s Voice Education Fund — 03/10

Republican Voters Still Back Comprehensive Immigration Reform

 A new survey from Benenson Strategy Group shows continued strong support for comprehensive immigration reform across the spectrum, including Republican voters. This is a clear case where the conventional wisdom about the politics of immigration is dead wrong. Read on for a snapshot of where Republican voters are on the issue, by the numbers.

Independent Voters Also Back Comprehensive Immigration Reform

A new survey from Benenson Strategy Group shows continued strong support for comprehensive immigration reform across the spectrum, including Independent voters. This is a clear case where the conventional wisdom about the politics of immigration is just plain wrong. Read on for a snapshot of where Independent voters are on the issue, by the numbers.

Nationwide Poll: Majority Support for Immigration Reform Holds Strong Amidst Weak Economy

A poll of 800 likely 2010 general election voters finds that support for comprehensive immigration reform remains strong, even in a down economy.  This latest research tests public opinion at three crucial moments of time – November 2008, May 2009, and December 2009 and finds continued strong support for comprehensive immigration reform.  Support for reform also crosses party lines, with majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents favoring the comprehensive solution to a temporary fix or mass deportation.

Republican Voters Back Comprehensive Immigration Reform

A recent survey from Benenson Strategy Group shows strong support for comprehensive immigration reform across the spectrum, including Republican voters.  This is a clear case where the conventional wisdom about the politics of immigration is dead wrong.  Read on for a snapshot of where Republican voters are on the issue, by the numbers.  

Independent Voters: What’s Wrong with Conventional Wisdom on Immigration?

A recent survey from Benenson Strategy Group shows strong support for comprehensive immigration reform across the spectrum, including Independent voters. This is a clear case where the conventional wisdom about the politics of immigration is just plain wrong. Read on for a snapshot of where Independent voters are on the issue, by the numbers.

Congressional District Poll: Support for Reform Strong in Battleground Districts; Swing Voters View Reform as Fair to Taxpayers

A poll of 500 likely voters each in three battleground Congressional districts finds strong support for comprehensive immigration reform.  Majorities of voters in Idaho’s 1st Congressional District, Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, and California’s 3rd Congressional District believe that comprehensive reform will help taxpayers and is a fair solution to our broken immigration system.  They also believe that Congress can and should address immigration reform at the same time it handles other issues. Nearly two-thirds of respondents in these districts support comprehensive immigration reform when asked generically, while nearly nine in ten support comprehensive reform upon hearing a description of the policy’s details.

Experts Analyze Current Public Opinion on Immigration Reform and the Economy

On Tuesday, June 2nd, pollsters Pete Brodnitz and Celinda Lake joined immigration and political experts Simon Rosenberg and Frank Sharry on a telephonic conference call to analyze American voters’ attitudes towards tackling immigration reform this year. Research from Benenson Strategy Group and Lake Research Partners shows that the American people want a solution to our broken immigration system, even during a down economy, and are frustrated with Washington’s inaction.

 (Listen to the MP3)

Nationwide Poll: Widespread Support for Reform, Increased Urgency

A poll of 1,000 likely voters throughout the country finds widespread support for a comprehensive immigration reform across demographics.  The majority of participants perceive an economic and fiscal benefit to immigration reform and want Congress to address the economy and immigration reform simultaneously.  While approximately 2/3 of voters support reform prior to hearing key components of the legislation, a detailed description of a comprehensive reform proposal receives support from nearly 9 in 10 voters.  

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Focus Groups: Swing Voters Support Common-Sense, Comprehensive Solutions on Immigration

A series of six focus groups finds that the economy has put voters in a problem-solving state of mind. They strongly support common-sense solutions to fixing the broken immigration system. Several key swing demographic groups in Kansas City, MO, Atlanta, GA, and Phoenix, AZ, strongly favored the specifics of a comprehensive immigration reform proposal in which undocumented immigrants register, pay taxes, learn English, pass a criminal background check, and apply for citizenship. Participants broadly rejected proposals focused on mass-deportation.

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High Expectation of Hispanics for Immigration Reform

The results of a new poll of Hispanic voters in thirteen key states shows the importance of comprehensive immigration reform to Hispanic voters, underscores their belief that immigration reform should be a priority this year, and highlights the challenges and opportunities for both Republicans and Democrats on this important issue.

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NALEO Poll: Post-Election Survey of Latino Voters

Among many new findings, the poll found strong support for the President-elect and the new Democratic Congress among Latino voters. This comes with high expectations on the part of Latinos to see their communities do better over the next four years. Nearly 70% of Latino voters expect the situation for Latinos to improve under the Obama Administration. These hopes are higher among immigrant voters with 3 of every 4 indicating that they expect a better lot with Barack Obama being elected President.

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Attitudes Toward Immigration Reform in Swing Districts

New polling sponsored by America’s Voice and Immigration08.com found that a large majority of voters broadly supports comprehensive immigration reform. Supporters of enforcement-only policies may be loud, but there are not very many of them. In this difficult economy, voters are more likely to support immigration reforms that move undocumented workers out of the shadows and onto the tax rolls. Common sense solutions that help the economy and immigration policy are a win-win.

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Latino Vote Exit Polling: Miami, LA, Chicago

Click on more to view the powerpoints of exit polling in Chicago, LA, and Miami on “The Immigration Issue and the 2008 Presidential Election”: Here’s a summary.

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National Survey of Latino Protestants: Immigration and the 2008 Election

A new national survey of Latino Protestant registered voters assesses their views on immigration and the 2008 election. This growing voting bloc reported viewing immigration as a key factor in influencing their vote- on par with abortion and more important than gay marriage. Many respondents said immigration issues have a big influence on their choice of candidate, and that they consider immigration to be a faith issue.

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Latino Vote Survey of Key Battleground States

The NALEO Educational Fund poll was based on a bilingual telephone survey of 1,600 Latino voters in Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Nevada, conducted Aug. 18 through Sept. 10, 2008. According to the poll, Latino voters are growing in numbers in important swing states such as Nevada, Colorado, Florida and New Mexico, where 46 electoral votes are in play. Turnout is expected to be high among Latinos, with nearly 90 percent of poll respondents saying they are “almost certain” to vote.

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2008 National Survey of Latinos

Immigration is a top priority for Latinos surveyed in the National Survey of Latinos. Those surveyed preferred Sen. Barack Obama, D-Il., over Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., 66 percent to 23 percent. The poll also found that 49 percent of respondents said the Democratic Party has more concern for Hispanics, while 7 percent said the same of the Republican Party.

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Poll of 1,000 Likely Voters Nationwide

Benenson Strategy Group


The Economic Situation has Increased the Sense of Urgency Surrounding Immigration Reform

  • Support for comprehensive immigration reform has increased since the 2008 elections and nearly 3 in 4 (72%) support Congress tackling immigration reform this year.
  • When asked if the poor economy makes it not the time to tackle immigration reform vs. more crucial than ever that we act on immigration, voters want action on immigration, by a resounding 57% to 39% margin

Voters Want Action on Immigration and Think it Should be Tackled Alongside Economic Recovery

  • Voters are 53% net more favorable toward a Member of Congress who says we can address the economy and immigration at the same time, while they are only 28% net more favorable toward a Congressional Member who says we should deal with the now and immigration may have to wait – a 25% advantage for acting now.
  • By a 59% to 39% margin, voters say that Congress can handle multiple issues at the same time rather than agreeing that Congress’ plate is too full with the economy and health care and that immigration reform should wait.
  • More than 8 in 10 view illegal immigration as a serious problem (up 3% from the same question in a post-2008 election poll) and 56% consider it a high priority issue for Congress to address (with another 29% reporting it is a medium priority).

Voters Reject “They’re Taking our Jobs” Arguments in Favor of Practical Immigration Reform and Legalization

  • By 71% to 26%, voters maintain that we’re better off if the undocumented population becomes legal taxpayers than if they leave the nation because they are taking jobs
  • This pro-legalization argument has gained 4% since the November.

Democrats are Trusted, and Especially President Obama, More than Republicans on Immigration.

  • Democrats in Congress have a 7% advantage over Republicans in Congress on whose approach to immigration reform reflects voters’ views (42%-35% margin)
  • President Obama’s approach has an 11% advantage over congressional Republicans’ approach (45%-34%)

The Public Broadly Favors Comprehensive Reform Over Other Alternatives

  • Nearly 7 in 10 (68%) voters argue that the 12 million in the U.S. who are undocumented should be required to register, meet conditions, and eventually be allowed to apply for citizenship, similar to the 67% who maintained the same position in a November 2008 poll.
    • Even 62% of Republicans report that illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship.
    • The other 30% of voters are divided between forcing the 12 million illegal immigrants to leave the country (20%) and allowing them to stay temporarily (10%).
  • When given the choice between a comprehensive approach and one that secures the border, stops taxpayer benefits, and forces those who broke our laws by entering illegally to leave, 67% prefer comprehensive reform while 31% prefer the approach that forces the 12 million remaining illegal immigrants to leave,
    • This is a 10 point gain in support for the comprehensive approach since we asked this question in November 2008.
    • More than 6 in 10 voters in all major demographic subgroups (including all political parties) prefer the comprehensive approach over increased enforcement only.
  • 82% of voters said the following statement made them more likely to support congressional action on immigration reform: Currently, law-abiding employers are undercut by bad-actor competitors who underpay workers without papers and pay them off the books in order to win business. Under immigration reform, all workers will be legal and unscrupulous employers who try to gain an advantage by violating immigration, labor and tax laws will be penalized severely, creating a level playing field for honest employers and all workers.

Methodology: Conducted May 9 – May 12, 2009, featuring 1,000 interviews with voters nationwide about immigration reform and the economy.

Poll of 800 Hispanic Voters in 13 States

Bendixen & Associates


Latino Voters Trust Obama and Expect Him to Move Forward on Immigration Reform as a Year One Priority

  • 75 percent of respondents rate Obama as doing an Excellent or Good job when it comes to “issues and concerns of Hispanic families in the United States”
  • 72 percent of respondents think President Obama will keep his campaign promise and move a comprehensive immigration reform bill forward before the end of his first year in office.
  • 83 percent of respondents thought that President Obama “will do the right thing” on immigration vs. only 10 percent who thought he “will not do the right thing” (7 percent don’t know)

While Latino Voters Trust Obama on Immigration, They Are Less Trusting of Congressional Democrats and Wholly Suspicious of Congressional Republicans

  • 83 percent of respondents trust President Obama to “do the right thing” on immigration, compared to 69 percent trust in Democrats in Congress and 23 percent trust in Congressional Republicans

Latino Voters Think Obama Should Tackle Immigration Reform Alongside the Economic Recovery

  • 69 percent of voters supported President Obama working on both the economic recovery and immigration reform in 2009 while only 29 percent thought he should focus on the economic recovery and put off immigration reform until after the midterm elections.

Immigration is an Intensely Personal Issue

  • 82 percent of respondents called the immigration issue personally important (59 percent “very important”) and 69 percent said they personally have an undocumented friend, family member, or other acquaintance.

A Candidate’s Immigration Position is a Threshold Issue

  • 87 percent of respondents said they would not consider voting for a Congressional candidate who was in favor of forcing most of the undocumented population to leave the country.
  • While 56 percent of respondents called the weak economy the biggest problem facing the nation, a sensible immigration position is clearly a prerequisite for candidates hoping to attract support from Hispanic voters.

Overwhelming Support for a Path to Citizenship

  • By a margin of 89 percent to 4 percent, voters favored the giving undocumented population a path to citizenship over “forcing most of them to leave the country”

These Voters Will Continue to Make their Voices Heard:

  • 91 percent of respondents said they were likely to vote in the 2010 midterm elections, including 75% who said they were “very likely

The Divisive Rhetoric of the Immigration Debate Has Corroded the GOP Brand Image

  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents (64 percent) agreed that during the last two years, discrimination against Hispanics had increased because of the negative tone and the rhetoric of the immigration debate.
  • Many respondents assign blame towards the GOP. By a 71 percent to 11 percent margin, respondents believed that the Democratic Party best represented the opinion of the Hispanic community on immigration issues vs. the Republican Party.
  • Additionally, only 23 percent of respondents thought that Republicans “will do the right thing” on immigration issues, while a whopping 60 percent thought Republicans “will not do the right thing” (17 percent don’t know).

Methodology: Conducted April 28 – May 5, 2009, featuring 800 interviews with Hispanic voters in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New York, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia (13 States).