Today Gallup released the findings of a new national poll about immigration and concluded that “a majority of Americans would vote for each of six different policy changes that Congress is considering as part of a comprehensive immigration reform bill.” According to the latest Gallup numbers, “support ranges from a high of 87% for a multifaceted pathway to citizenship that includes a long waiting period, taxes and a penalty, background checks, and learning English, to a low of 53% for a law that would vary the number of immigrants the U.S. lets into the country, depending on economic conditions.”
Gallup also wrote the following:
Over three-quarters of Americans support four of the six proposals in the June 15-16 Gallup survey. In addition to the pathway for citizenship, increased border security wins broad public support, as do a proposal that would allow engineers and scientists who earn graduate degrees in the U.S. to remain in the country and work, and legislation that would require business owners to check the immigration status of any employee they hire.
Fewer Americans —although still a majority— would vote for a law allowing a business to hire an immigrant for an open position after unsuccessfully searching for an American willing to do the job.
This latest poll is in stark contrast to a May poll from Quinnipiac University which “found that 52 percent of registered voters nationwide believe undocumented immigrants ‘should be allowed to stay in the United States and to eventually apply for US citizenship,’ down from 59 percent…” According the reports about that poll, “30 percent said that those undocumented immigrants should be required to leave, a jump from 25 percent who said the same a month ago.”
Gallup’s latest poll also said that “Five of the six immigration policy measures receive majority support from Democrats, independents, and Republicans, despite the intense partisan wrangling in Congress over immigration reform. The exception is the proposal to vary the number of immigrants allowed into the country based on the economy, which Democrats and independents generally favor but falls short of majority Republican support.”
Gallup continued: “The largest difference between Democrats’ and Republicans’ views is found on the proposed measure requiring employers to check the status of employees they hire: 90% of Republicans support this, compared with 74% of Democrats — a 16-percentage-point gap. Further, while 81% of Democrats support increasing the resources provided to the Border Patrol, Republicans, at 95%, support it almost universally.”
As for implications about the poll, Gallup wrote:
A majority of Americans support each of six different immigration reform proposals when asked about them individually in a referendum format. However — as was seen in the debate over the Affordable Care Act — support for proposed legislation as a whole and support for its constituent parts can sometimes differ. Therefore, although Americans’ widespread support for the six immigration proposals seems to suggest they would favor the type of bill the Senate is currently debating, this may not necessarily be the case.
Additionally, controversies in Congress have arisen not just over the bill’s specific provisions, but also over the order in which the provisions become law, with some legislators insisting that the border security goals must be reached before other components of the bill kick in.
You can read more about the poll’s methodology here.