April 5, 2013
A new poll commissioned by the Center for Immigration Studies found American voters prefer enforcing current immigration laws before granting conditional legalization.
The Pulse Opinion Research poll used neutral language during their survey process rather than mass deportation or conditional legalization to collect their results.
The overall results concluded the following:
- Of likely voters, 72 percent said they support reducing the illegal immigrant population by requiring employers to check workers’ legal status, fortifying the border, and getting the cooperation of local police. A total of 54 percent said they strongly support this approach.
- There is also support for legalizing illegal immigrants with 61 percent of likely voters indicating they support giving illegal immigrants legal status if they pay a fine, study English, and undergo a background check. Twenty-nine percent said they “strongly support” this approach.
- When we asked which of the two approaches they prefer, 58 percent of likely voters said they support reducing the illegal immigrant population through enforcement, while just 31 percent said they prefer legalization with the conditions listed above.
- Supporting legalization is politically risky. Of likely voters, 56 percent said they would be less likely to vote for a member of Congress who supported legalization, while just 27 percent said they would be more likely to vote for a member who supports legalization — a 29 percentage-point spread.
The folks at CIS conceded that designing questions for a survey is a prickly process, but found when the questions were derived from the policy debate taking place on Capitol Hill respondents preferred law enforcement.
“Our poll avoids this problem by asking questions that actually reflect the policy debate,” explained Steven Camarota, Director of Research for CIS. “We first asked the public whether they would like the law enforced and the illegal immigrant population reduced. We then asked if they would support a conditional legalization. Finally, we asked which approach they prefer.”
“By asking questions that actually reflect the real policy choices being debated in Congress, and avoiding the biased questions of so many polls, the Pulse Opinion Research poll reported here provides a much clearer and more accurate picture of what the American people want on immigration.
It shows that while there is certainly some support for legalization and citizenship, most Americans want the law enforced and illegal immigrants to return to their home countries. One may disagree with the idea of enforcement. But if pollsters are to provide an accurate picture of what the public thinks, they must ask questions that reflect the policy debate. It is our hope that this poll will help to correct this situation by demonstrating a more reasonable way of asking questions about illegal immigration,” Camarota concluded.
To learn more about the Pulse Opinion Research poll click here.
© Copyright 2013 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.