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Updated: In 18 of 20 GOP Primary Exit Polls, Republican Voters Support Legalization over Deportation

 

Republican exit polling from Indiana’s primary asked two questions relevant to immigration policy and politics:

Adding yesterday’s results to the earlier primary state results, this means:

  • In 18 of the 20 states where Republican primary exit pollshave asked the question, GOP primary voters supported offering undocumented immigrants legalization instead of deportation
  • In 25 of the 26 states with Republican primary or caucus entrance/exit polls, immigration ranked last in the “what is your most important issue priority” test (behind jobs/economy; government spending; and terrorism)

In addition to the Republican exit polling, Republicans in recent nationwide strongly prefer legalization over deportation. Recent polling from the Pew Research Center found that by a 57%-41% margin, Republican respondents preferred policies that would allow undocumented immigrants to stay legally in the U.S. (the margin was 74%-25% among all Americans). And in March 2016, Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) released the 2015 American Values Atlas on Americans’ views on immigration. The PRRI study, with a massive sample size of 42,000 interviews, found that 52% of Republicans back a pathway to citizenship and 14% support legalization with no citizenship (a combined 66% of GOP respondents therefore support legal status), while only 30% of Republicans backed deportation (all respondents in the PRRI poll supported legalization over deportation by a 77%-19% margin).  

Below is the updated full snapshot at state exit polling from 2016, now updated through yesterday’s results in Indiana (May 3)

Republican Primary Voters Consistently Support Legalization for Undocumented Immigrants Instead of Deportation: In 18 of the 20 states where Republican primary exit polls asked the question, GOP primary voters supported offering undocumented immigrants “a chance to apply for legal status” instead of mass deportation:

  • In Wisconsin, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 61%-34% margin
  • In Virginia, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 59%-36% margin
  • In New York, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 57%-38% margin
  • In Michigan, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 56%-37% margin
  • In Ohio, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 56%-38% margin
  • In Illinois, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 56%-40% margin
  • In New Hampshire, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 56%-41% margin
  • In North Carolina, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 54%-39% margin
  • In Florida, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 53%-38% margin
  • In Georgia, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 53%-39% margin
  • In Missouri, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 53%-42% margin
  • In South Carolina, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 53%-44% margin
  • In Indiana, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 52%-45% margin
  • In Pennsylvania, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 51%-45% margin
  • In Oklahoma, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 50%-47% margin
  • In Tennessee, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 49%-45% margin
  • In Texas, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 47%-43% margin
  • In Arkansas, GOP primary voters supported legalization over deportation by a 47% – 44% margin
  • Alabamaand Mississippi were the two states where GOP primary voters supported deportation over legalization, by a 50%-45% margin in AL and a 51%-46% margin in MS

Republican Primary Voters Consistently Rank Immigration Last Among Top-Priority Issues Tested: In 25 of the 26 states with Republican primary or caucus entrance/exit polls, immigration ranked last in the “what is your most important issue priority” test (behind jobs/economy; government spending; and terrorism).