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Summary of Focus Groups

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Summary of Focus Groups

Lake Research Partners


Voters are Solution-Oriented towards Immigration:

  • The economy and all the other urgent problems currently facing the country have put voters into a more solution oriented frame of mind, making them receptive to comprehensive immigration reform.

When the Process for Legalization is Described, Voters are Broadly Supportive:

  • Participants liked that it set up an orderly process and that immigrants who go through the system are showing a commitment to becoming Americans.


  • Emphasize that CIR represents a common sense, middle of the road solution.
  • Incorporate descriptions of the orderly process of legalization, as voters find it practical
  • Acknowledge voters’ economic anxiety and frame CIR as part of the economic solution
  • Soothe voters’ cultural anxieties. Appeals to patriotism, as in the “American Solution” message and the requirement that immigrants learn English go along way toward calming cultural anxieties.
  • Continue to channel voter frustration at the lack of a solution into support for comprehensive reform. Voters are frustrated by a lack of control or order in the system and worried about a lack of law enforcement at the border or in work places. Comprehensive reform is a way to provide that order in a common sense, fair way.
  • Continue to claim and hold the ground of a “common sense” solution. Voters do not see immigration as a debate between two sides, but rather as a problem to be solved.


Conducted 2.5 hour-long focus groups on immigration:

  • White, non-college swing women in Kansas City, MO on March 3, 2009
  • White, non-college swing men in Kansas City, MO, March 3, 2009
  • White, college swing women in Atlanta, GA, March 5, 2009
  • African American, mixed gender in Atlanta, GA, March 5, 2009
  • Latino, mixed gender in Phoenix, AZ, March 16, 2009
  • White Republican men in Phoenix, AZ, March 16, 2009