Nationally, 61% Back Arizona Law Targeting Illegal Immigrants

Same Proportion Would Support the Same Law in their Own State

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Washington, DC – Majorities of Americans, 61% in both instances, support Arizona's new immigration law and would favor this law being passed in their own state, according to a new national telephone poll of 1,016 adults conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, May 6-9.

Asked about a new law recently passed in the state of Arizona that, “once police stop a person, requires local law enforcement officials to verify the immigration status of people they reasonably suspect of being in the country illegally,” 61% said they favor it (41% strongly and 20% somewhat) while 37% said they oppose it (25% strongly and 11% somewhat) and 3% were unsure. Among registered voters, 64% are in support of it and 33% are opposed to it.

Furthermore, 61% said they would favor this law being passed in their own state (42% strongly and 19% somewhat) while 36% would oppose it (26% strongly and 10% somewhat) and 3% are unsure. Among registered voters, 65% would favor it vs. 33% who would oppose it.

Support for both the Arizona law and a similar law in their own state is expressed by over 8 in 10 Republicans (83% and 82%, respectively) and over half of Independents (54% and 52%, respectively). Democrats are clearly split as nearly half of them favor the Arizona law (46%) while 51% oppose it, and nearly as many Democrats would favor a similar law in their own state (49%) as would oppose it (50%).

In addition, 69% of survey respondents said they wouldn't mind if police officers stopped them to ask for proof of their citizenship or legal rights to be in the country. In contrast, 29% said they would mind, considering it a violation of their rights, and 3% were unsure.

Shedding light on opinions about the Arizona law, 89% agree that “protecting our borders is important as part of America's effort to prevent drug trafficking and organized crime” (only 7% disagree).

Furthermore, 62% of respondents said they agree that “this country has a real problem with illegal immigration, and it is hurting all Americans” (30% disagree). Also, only one third agree with the statements “on balance, I think illegal immigrants probably help America more than they hurt it” (35% vs. 52% who disagree) and “illegal immigration doesn’t bother me because it means that hardworking people can find a better quality of life in America” (35% vs. 58% who disagree). And less than half agree that “illegal immigrants in the US mostly work in jobs that Americans don’t want anyway” (46% vs. 45% who disagree).

However, 64% agree that “the best way to tackle the issue of illegal immigration is to go after the businesses who hire illegal immigrants” (25% disagree) and 62% agree that “the government should spend more time tightening our borders and less time worrying about the people who are already here” (29% disagree).

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted May 6-9, 2010. For the survey, a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of exactly 1,016 adults aged 18 and older across the United States was interviewed by Ipsos. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population in the U.S. been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. These data were weighted to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to U.S. Census figures. Respondents had the option to be interviewed in English or Spanish.

For more information on this press release, please contact:
Clifford Young
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs

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Nationally, 61% Back Arizona Law Targeting Illegal Immigrants

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Clifford Young
President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs