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NBC/WSJ Poll: Americans Strongly Support Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants

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You’ve heard us say many times that when it comes to immigration reform with a path to citizenship: the American people want it, Democrats promised it and Republicans need it. Today, we get conclusive proof from the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that the American people — including Republicans — do want citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans. The headline of Mark Murray’s post sums it up “NBC/WSJ poll: Strong majority backs citizenship for undocumented immigrants” – and here’s his report:

With a bipartisan group of senators expected to unveil immigration-reform legislation in the next few days, a brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans – including eight-in-10 Latinos – support giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.

A slight majority of Republican respondents oppose this path, possibly foreshadowing the resistance which any comprehensive immigration reform bill might receive, especially in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

But when Republicans hear that a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants includes paying fines and back taxes, almost three-quarters of them support the idea.

What’s more, a majority of the public – for the first time in the poll – agrees with the statement that immigration strengthens the nation, reflecting a shift in attitude on this issue.

Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted this survey with the Democratic firm Hart Research Associates, says that this change in sentiment on immigration “speaks to something potent,” particularly given the economic struggles of the past five years.

“These more positive attitudes provide more leeway for lawmakers to build support for change on this issue,” McInturff adds.

And, the key findings:

Regarding the current legislative debate over immigration, 64 percent of respondents say they favor allowing undocumented immigrants to have the opportunity to become legal American citizens.

That includes 82 percent of Latinos, 80 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of political independents supporting a path to citizenship.

But 51 percent of Republicans oppose it, versus 47 percent who back it.

Yet when told that the pathway to citizenship would require paying fines and back taxes, as well as passing a security-background check, support grows – with 76 percent of total respondents, and 73 percent of Republicans backing the path.

We’ll have further analysis of what our Executive Director Frank Sharry tweeted are “gawdy numbers” later today.

The full poll can be viewed here.