tags: , , , , Polling

Public Opinion and the Arizona Immigration Law:  What Do Voters Support and Why?

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Download Presentation (July 7, 2010) | Download Audio (MP3) of Press Call


Drew Westen, Principal of Westen Strategies; Author and Professor, Emory University
Celinda Lake,
President, Lake Research Partners
David Mermin,
Partner, Lake Research Partners 
Frank Sharry
Executive Director, America’s Voice

Yesterday the Department of Justice sued Arizona in an attempt to stop the implementation of the state’s controversial immigration law.  Last week President Obama made a major speech promoting comprehensive immigration reform. Meanwhile, most Republicans have embraced the Arizona law, rejected comprehensive immigration reform and stated their support for a “border security first” posture.

A number of media-sponsored polls have showed public support for the Arizona law while many of the same polls have showed even more public support for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship.  What gives?  Is the public confused, or do these seemingly contradictory views actually make sense? 

Recent dial-testing research conducted by Westen Strategies and recent bipartisan polling conducted by Lake Research Partners and Public Opinion Strategies sheds light on the important question of where the public stands as the immigration debate heats up.  

Key finding: Most Americans support both Arizona’s controversial anti-immigration law at the same time they also support proposed federal comprehensive immigration reform legislation with a path to earned citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Overall, opinion research shows that rather than a newfound wave of anti-immigrant sentiment, most Americans support Arizona’s law as well as support for national comprehensive immigration reform is driven by a desire for action by Washington on a problem that has been left unattended for too long.

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