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Bipartisan Poll: In Arizona Aftermath, Public Demands National Immigration Reform

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Conducted by Lake Research Partners and Public Opinion Strategies, a newly released bi-partisan poll of 800 registered voters nationwide with an oversample of 300 Latino registered voters shows that Americans overwhelmingly want national action on comprehensive immigration reform. In fact, even supporters of the new Arizona immigration law strongly favor a national, comprehensive approach.

Key Findings:

  • Support for comprehensive immigration reform is overwhelming.  Support for comprehensive reform jumps from 57%-18% support to a 78%-16% margin after respondents hear a description of the reform proposal.  The support is broad-based, crosses party lines, and stays consistent across the country, with especially high levels of support seen among Republicans (84%-12% support) and voters in border states (81%-13% support).
  • A majority of voters supports the new Arizona law, but Latinos oppose the law in large numbers and with great intensity.  While overall voters favored the Arizona anti-immigration law by a 60%-23% margin (with an addition 18% expressing uncertainty), Latinos opposed the AZ law by a 55%-35% split (10% unsure).
  • Support for Arizona law comes out of a desire for national action to fix our broken immigration system.  When asked why they support the Arizona law, a majority of those in support favored the measure because “the federal government has failed to solve the problem” (52%), compared to 28% who said because “it will reduce illegal immigration” and 12% who said “it will reduce crime.”
  • Support for Arizona’s immigration law is not mutually exclusive with support for comprehensive immigration reform.  In fact, supporters of the Arizona law support national comprehensive immigration reform by a decisive 84%-12% margin.
  • Even though they support the Arizona law, voters do not want to see it copied all over the country.  Instead, they are demanding federal action on comprehensive immigration reform.  By a 53%-35% margin, voters preferred the notion that “A state by state approach just won’t work.  Immigration needs a national solution that tightens the border, cracks down on illegal hiring, and requires illegal immigrants to register, pay taxes, and learn English” over the alternative, “I think we need a version of Arizona’s law in our state.  We need to give police here the tools to enforce our laws and finally crack down on illegal immigrants.”
  • Voters want federal action, not state-by-state laws on immigration.  By a 56%-22% margin, voters initially think the issue of immigration should be dealt with at the federal level rather than at the state level. 
  • A majority of voters believe immigration will be a very or extremely important factor in their vote this fall.  56% of overall respondents said that immigration would be “extremely” or “very important” to their 2010 midterm vote. 
  • Voters overwhelmingly want Congress to take action now on comprehensive immigration reform rather than waiting to take action later.  By a 76%-19% margin, voters want Congress to take action on immigration reform now.  Sixty-seven percent of voters “strongly favored” action now.