Conventional wisdom holds that voters, especially Republican voters, are relentlessly hardline when it comes to immigration policy and reform. Polls that present false choices over immigration—asking whether the government should focus on enforcing immigration laws OR legalizing undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria—only serve to confirm that flawed analysis.
Public Polling On Immigration Reform
For years, anti-immigrant activists have scared Republican officials into thinking that GOP voters are rabidly anti-immigrant and oppose any candidate who supports common sense reform. The recent ascent of Newt Gingrich, who has weathered attacks from enforcement-only candidate Mitt Romney over his immigration position, demonstrates conclusively that this line of thinking is wrong.
Latino Decisions surveyed 500 registered voters between January 24th and February 5th in 21 states with the largest Hispanic populations, comprising 94% percent of the US Hispanic electorate. Voters were selected randomly from the registered voter lists and households were identified for contact using the Census Bureau Hispanic surname list, and merged with third party data to secure telephone numbers. Results were weighted to account for minor deviations from known population characteristics.
While much post-election analysis has highlighted how Latino voters were mobilized by the immigration debate and helped Democrats retain the Senate, new polling from Lake Research Partners focuses on the views of all voters toward immigration policy. The research finds that despite midterm election gains by conservatives and Republicans, voters have not turned against comprehensive immigration reform and remain broadly in favor of a national and practical fix to the immigration system. The poll was conducted between October 31st and November 2, 2010 and the survey reached a total of 1,200 likely, registered voters nationwide.