CONGRESS

Public Wants Immigrants to Be Able to Stay

.photo.left{display:none;}

Protestors march outside the Alabama Capitol during a demonstration against Alabama's immigration law in Montgomery, Ala., Tuesday Nov. 15, 2011. Federal courts have blocked parts of the Republican-backed law from taking effect, but both supporters and critics still call it the nation's toughest state law against illegal immigration. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)  
National Journal
Ronald Brownstein
Dec. 6, 2011, 4:30 p.m.

As the de­bate over im­mig­ra­tion con­tin­ues to roil the Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial field, a sub­stan­tial ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­ans say they would prefer to al­low some or all il­leg­al im­mig­rants to re­main in the United States, the latest United Tech­no­lo­gies/Na­tion­al Journ­al Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll has found.

When asked what should be done with the roughly 11 mil­lion il­leg­al im­mig­rants in the coun­try, just 25 per­cent of those polled said that they should all be de­por­ted “no mat­ter how long they have been in the U.S.”

An­oth­er 28 per­cent of those sur­veyed said that all il­leg­al im­mig­rants should be al­lowed “to stay, provided they have broken no oth­er laws and com­mit to learn­ing Eng­lish and U.S. his­tory.” The largest group, at 39 per­cent, said that the United States should “de­port some, but al­low those who have been here for many years and have broken no oth­er laws to stay here leg­ally.”

The United Tech­no­lo­gies/Na­tion­al Journ­al Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll was con­duc­ted by Prin­ceton Sur­vey Re­search As­so­ci­ates In­ter­na­tion­al from Dec. 1 to 4; it in­ter­viewed 1,008 adults by land­line and cell phone. It has a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or minus 3.7 per­cent­age points.

The poll’s three op­tions on im­mig­ra­tion cor­res­pond ap­prox­im­ately to the po­s­i­tions of the three lead­ing fig­ures in the 2012 pres­id­en­tial race. Former House Speak­er Newt Gin­grich, now emer­ging as the GOP front-run­ner, has ad­voc­ated the third op­tion: He ar­gues that long­time il­leg­al im­mig­rants who have broken no oth­er laws should be gran­ted a right to stay in the coun­try, al­though without cit­izen­ship, by loc­al com­munity boards.

Mitt Rom­ney, the erstwhile Re­pub­lic­an front-run­ner, has aligned him­self closest to the first op­tion. He has said that Gin­grich’s plan amounts to am­nesty and that all il­leg­al im­mig­rants should re­ceive no spe­cial priv­ileges in ap­ply­ing for cit­izen­ship, al­though he has been some­what vague on wheth­er he be­lieves they should be re­quired to leave the coun­try be­fore do­ing so.

Pres­id­ent Obama, like most Demo­crats, has ar­gued that all il­leg­al im­mig­rants who have com­mit­ted no oth­er crime should be provided a path­way to cit­izen­ship, so long as they meet cer­tain re­quire­ments, such as learn­ing Eng­lish.

In the sur­vey, the views of Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic voters di­verged some­what but gen­er­ally over­lapped more than the rhet­or­ic of each party’s na­tion­al lead­ers. This is con­sist­ent with oth­er polling that has reg­u­larly shown that even a sub­stan­tial por­tion of the GOP elect­or­ate views mass de­port­a­tion as un­work­able.

In the Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll, just 33 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans sup­por­ted de­port­ing all ileg­al im­mig­rants. That’s sig­ni­fic­antly more than the 15 per­cent of Demo­crats who backed that ap­proach. In a roughly mir­ror im­age, just 19 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans wanted to al­low all il­leg­al im­mig­rants to stay, com­pared with 32 per­cent of Demo­crats. In both parties, though, the largest group aligned be­hind the choice Gin­grich has cham­pioned: al­low­ing long-term il­leg­al im­mig­rants who have not broken any oth­er law to re­main. Forty-three per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans and 42 per­cent of Demo­crats backed that op­tion. In­de­pend­ents split al­most evenly between the three op­tions.

Sim­il­arly, while the res­ults con­tained im­port­ant ra­cial dif­fer­ences, the gap was not as large as it was on some oth­er is­sues. Even among whites, just 28 per­cent sup­port de­port­ing all il­leg­al im­mig­rants, while 24 per­cent want to al­low all to re­main, and 40 per­cent want to de­port some.

The poll also found pub­lic skep­ti­cism about an­oth­er con­ser­vat­ive pri­or­ity. Last month, the House passed le­gis­la­tion re­quir­ing any state that al­lows res­id­ents to carry con­cealed weapons to re­cog­nize the con­cealed-carry per­mits gran­ted by every oth­er state. That le­gis­la­tion at­trac­ted 58 votes when Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., offered it in the Sen­ate in 2009, and his staff says he is con­sid­er­ing op­tions to at­tach the pro­pos­al to oth­er le­gis­la­tion now.

The poll presen­ted re­spond­ents with brief ar­gu­ments for and against the idea, not­ing: “Sup­port­ers say this is ne­ces­sary to en­sure people au­thor­ized to carry con­cealed weapons in their own state can pro­tect them­selves wherever they are,” while “Op­pon­ents say it would un­der­mine each state’s abil­ity to set its own stand­ards for who can carry guns, like age or train­ing re­quire­ments.”

After hear­ing those ar­gu­ments, 49 per­cent of adults said they op­posed the le­gis­la­tion and be­lieved it “should not be­come law.” Just 40 per­cent said they sup­por­ted it. The idea pre­cip­it­ated a sharp gender gap: Al­though men sup­por­ted it by a nar­row 47 per­cent to 45 per­cent plur­al­ity, wo­men op­posed it by a sol­id 53 per­cent to 33 per­cent ma­jor­ity. Whites nar­rowly op­posed the idea, while minor­it­ies res­isted it by a lar­ger mar­gin.

Edu­ca­tion among whites marked an­oth­er im­port­ant di­vid­ing line. The con­cealed-weapons bill drew sup­port from a plur­al­ity of whites without four-year de­grees (and sup­port from nearly three-fifths of such non­col­lege men). Mean­while, col­lege-edu­cated whites op­posed the pro­pos­al by 2-to-1.

What We're Following See More »
FIRST WOMAN NOMINATED BY MAJOR PARTY
Hillary Clinton Accepts the Democratic Nomination for President
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"It is with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president," said Hillary Clinton in becoming the first woman to accept a nomination for president from a major party. Clinton gave a wide-ranging address, both criticizing Donald Trump and speaking of what she has done in the past and hopes to do in the future. "He's taken the Republican party a long way, from morning in America to midnight in America," Clinton said of Trump. However, most of her speech focused instead on the work she has done and the work she hopes to do as president. "I will be a president of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving, the successful," she said. "For those who vote for me and for those who don't. For all Americans together."

COUNTER-CHANTS AT THE READY
Protesters Make Good on Threat to Disrupt Speech
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

Supporters of Bernie Sanders promised to walk out, turn their backs, or disrupt Hillary Clinton's speech tonight, and they made good immediately, with an outburst almost as soon as Clinton began her speech. But her supporters, armed with a handy counter-chant cheat sheet distributed by the campaign, immediately began drowning them out with chants of "Hillary, Hillary!"

SUFFOLK POLL
New Survey Shows Clinton Up 9 in Pennsylvania
16 hours ago
THE LATEST

If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."

Source:
THREE NIGHTS RUNNING
Democrats Beat Republicans in Convention Ratings So Far
17 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."

Source:
SHIFT FROM ROMNEY’S NUMBERS
Catholics, Highly Educated Moving Toward Dems
20 hours ago
THE LATEST

Catholics who attend mass at least weekly have increased their support of the Democratic nominee by 22 points, relative to 2012, when devout Catholics backed Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, a Morning Consult poll shows that those voters with advanced degrees prefer Hillary Clinton, 51%-34%. Which, we suppose, makes the ideal Clinton voter a Catholic with a PhD in divinity.

×