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NEW POLL: Obama's DREAMer Deferred Action Policy is Popular and Pragmatic

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Immigration reform has rocketed to the top of the national agenda in the past week, after Latino turnout and overwhelming support for President Obama and his party were key to holding the White House and Senate for the Democrats and gaining slightly in the House.

Today, Lake Research and The Tarrance Group released a new poll about the level of support and opposition for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shows broad support for DACA and made it clear that Americans of all backgrounds support leadership on immigration.

On the call to announce the resultsDavid Mermin, Partner at Lake Research Partners, said, “The policy turned into a real winner for Democrats across the board this year.  Support for this program is pervasive across the political spectrum – 75% of Democrats and 60% of independents favor the President’s policy, while Republicans remain divided with 35% in favor and 45% in opposition.  This was clearly a net political plus both in consolidating base voters as well as winning over independent voters for the President, and as the data shows, DACA was not a motivating issue for Republicans.”

In the wake of the elections, pundits and politicians across the political spectrum are agreeing that broader legislative reform is necessary. The Lake Research/Tarrance Group poll shows strong support from Democrats and independents, with Republicans breaking just about even.  As Brian Nienaber, Vice President of the Tarrance Group, pointed out on the call, this level of support among Republicans is actually quite remarkable for an initiative identified so directly with Obama in the days before the elections.

Only 3% of Republican poll respondents said DACA was the single most important issue in their voting decision. According to Nienaber, “A majority of Republicans identify this policy as not too important or not at all important to their vote.  As Congress considers bold action on immigration reform, this is not an issue that was a vote decider for Republicans.  Often, the time for bold action on issues is when the issue is not at the top of interest level for voters.”

Out of voters who said the President’s new policy was the single most important issue in determining their vote, 75% favor the policy. The President’s policy was a popular decision that was a more important voting issue to his supporters than his opponents.

Lynn Tramonte of America’s Voice Education Fund said on today’s call, “Politicians used to think ‘I have to choose between representing the views of Latinos and non-Latinos when it comes to immigration policy.’ This poll and many others this year have shown that candidates can stand for a common-sense policy and win support from the vast majority of voters. As Republican candidates look inward and back outward to find a path forward through our nation’s demographic changes, they should take this poll as evidence that there is a new paradigm on immigration.  Mitt Romney didn’t have to make the choice he made in the primary, and Republicans don’t have to make that choice in the future. Instead, they can choose to step forward and take action, knowing that most voters will applaud their leadership.”

Among the poll’s findings:


  • Fifty-seven percent of Americans support the President’s decision to grant relief to DREAMers, and 46% of Americans say they “strongly support” it. Meanwhile, only 26% oppose it.
  • Support is strong among Democrats and independents… Seventy-five percent of Democrats support the policy overall.  Of those, 68% say they “strongly support” it. Sixty percent of independents support the policy overall, of which 45% say they “strongly support” it.
  • …much stronger than opposition among Republicans. While 45% of Republicans are opposed to the policy, 35% support it. Of those in support of the policy, twenty-four percent even said they “strongly” supported it.
  • Majorities of Americans among all races support DACA. Seventy-seven percent of Latinos support the president’s policy; 66% of African-American voters support it; and 52% of white voters support it.


  • Only some Americans named the new policy as a crucial issue in determining their vote: Five percent of Americans said the new issue was “the single most important issue” in their voting decisions, and 18% said it was “very important.  Among those who said the issue was “the single most important” to their voting decision, 75% support the policy.
  • DACA was a mobilizing factor for many Latinos. Thirty-eight percent of Latinos named the policy as “the single most important issue” or a “very important issue” in determining their vote.
  • Very few voters were driven to the polls by opposition to the President’s policy. Among voters who opposed the policy, only 5% said it was the single most important issue in determining their vote.
  • DACA is overwhelmingly popular among both immigration and education voters. Among voters who named immigration as their top issue in deciding their vote, 73% support DACA. This is only slightly higher than support among voters who named education as their top issue: 71% of education voters support DACA.