Published:  

A poll from The Polling Company shows overwhelming support among likely voters for significantly lower immigration levels, increased enforcement and an opposition to Pres. Obama's plan to move forward with an executive action that could grant amnesty and work permits to millions of illegal aliens. 74% of likely voters chose Pres. Obama working with Congress on the immigration issue rather than acting alone, and 75% of likely voters want to see more enforcement of immigration laws. Further, there was strong agreement that family-based immigration (the driving force behind legal immigration numbers) should be limited to spouses and minor children, including support among voters who think we enforce our immigration laws "too much".

Polling Memo
Poll Summary
Full Poll

Among the poll's key findings:

President Obama recently said that he may go around Congress and take executive action on immigration policy. Which do you support more: President Obama changing immigration policy on his own, or President Obama working with Congress to change immigration policy?

  • 74% support working with Congress vs. 21% support changing on his own
  • 56% of Democrats support working with Congress vs. 40% support changing on his own
  • 81% of Independents support working with Congress vs. 14% support changing on his own
  • 93% of Republicans support working with Congress vs. 4% support changing on his own

To address the current border crisis would you support or oppose an approach that includes three main parts: extra funding for immigration enforcement, making it easier to return young illegal immigrants to their home countries, and restricting the president’s ability to legalize illegal immigrants on his own?

  • 58% support vs. 32% oppose
  • 70% of Republicans support vs. 23% oppose
  • 54% of Democrats support vs. 42% oppose
  • 57% of Independents support vs. 33% oppose

As you may know, by the end of this year 70,000 to 90,000 unaccompanied illegal immigrant children are expected to cross the border in to the United States, which is three-to-four times the number that crossed over last year. Which of the following approaches do you think is the best way to handle the flood of children over the border?

  • 65% supports sending them back home to their home countries to convince parents there to stop sending their children here
  • 22% support relocating them to communities across the United States to provide them safe shelter

If U.S. businesses have trouble finding workers, what should happen?

  • 75% They should raise wages and improve working conditions to attract Americans
  • 8% More immigrant workers should be allowed into the country to fill these jobs
  • 86% of Black Americans agreed with raising wages and improving working conditions to attract Americans
  • 71% of Hispanic Americans agreed with raising wages and improving working conditions to attract Americans

Other key findings:

  • While President Obama is underwater in his job approval (57%-40%), an even greater margin (two-thirds) of Americans disapprove of his handling of immigration. This includes one of his key constituencies, Hispanics, who disapprove of his job performance on immigration by 55% to 39%.
  • Neither Republicans nor Democrats are viewed as doing a good job on immigration, a clear product of the GOP’s lack of coherent immigration message. That also means that neither party currently “owns” the issue. The current combination of children-at-the-border-crisis and an increasingly weakened President Obama is awakening a sleeping giant on an issue long eclipsed by the economy and healthcare
  • There is strong consensus on many populist immigration policies that should find new audiences: Strengthen enforcement of current immigration laws; Encourage returning or staying home by tightening access or eliminating public benefits to illegal immigrants – at least adults – and improve enforcement of employment laws; and Limit chain immigration for legal immigrants to immediate nuclear family (spouse and minor children).
  • Those who are more pessimistic about the U.S. employment outlook or have lower annual household incomes are more resistant to legal immigration and also more conservative in their approach to policies dealing with illegal immigrants.
  • Likely voters are more inclined to believe that immigrants take jobs from Americans rather than create jobs, and nearly 9 out of 10 believe that U.S.-born workers and legal immigrants already here should get first preference for jobs.
  • Over two-thirds of likely voters agree that we should deny illegal immigrants jobs and welfare benefits to encourage their return back to their home countries -including 64% of union members. Hispanics were split: 48% support and 46% of them oppose this solution.
  • Tolerance for adult foreign citizens who overstay their visas is low – 76% of all respondents say they should not be allowed to stay.
  • There was strong agreement, including among all ideological and political party identifications, that chain migration needs to be limited to only spouses and minor children of legal immigrants. Even half of those who say we enforce our immigration laws “too much” agree that this policy should be limited.