Benenson Strategy Group conducted a national poll from December 19 to 21, 2009 for America’s Voice, following up on questions asked in May 2009. The December poll surveyed 800 likely voters and had a margin of error of ±3.46%.
Sixty-five percent of respondents supported congressional action on comprehensive immigration reform in 2010. According to the December poll, 65% of voters prefer for Congress to take up the immigration issue this year rather than wait until later. The poll found, 66 percent of respondents supported comprehensive immigration reform before even hearing details of the plan. Support for reform continued to cut across party lines, with 69% of Democrats, 67% of independents, and 62% of Republicans supporting comprehensive reform. When given details, support for comprehensive reform climbed. Requiring undocumented immigrants to register with the government and meet certain conditions, including working, paying taxes and learning English in order to apply for citizenship, was supported by 87% in December. These findings show continued support for reform following similar polls in November 2008 and May 2009, even during the country’s harshest economic crisis in decades.
A majority of voters said the issue was crucial due to the poor economy, and preferred that undocumented immigrants become legal taxpayers to a mass-deportation approach. The sense of urgency has been bolstered by the poor economy. Fifty-five percent of respondents said that the poor economy makes it more crucial that Congress address immigration reform, while 42% believed it was not the right time. An overwhelming margin of voters, 67% to 28%, prefer that undocumented immigrants take steps to become legal taxpayers over an option to deport them because they are “taking jobs.”
Sixty-six percent of voters support requiring undocumented immigrants to register and work towards citizenship. When given details about what is included in comprehensive immigration reform, including access to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who register and meet state criteria, support remains strong and consistent. Roughly the same percentage of voters in May and December 2009, 66%, support a program that requires undocumented immigrants to register, meet certain requirements, and become legal taxpayers on their way to becoming full U.S. citizens. Only 22% of voters believed that those immigrants should be required to leave and 11% believe that they should be allowed to stay temporarily.