Politics
immigration rally. Photo: AFP Getty Images/Saul Loeb  immigration rally. Photo: AFP Getty Images/Saul Loeb   

New poll shows little voter support for immigration deal

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

The main provisions in the Senate’s pending immigration bill are as popular among voters as a skunk at a wedding, according to a new poll.

“The bill’s idea that more immigration will put more Americans to work was supported by only 24 percent of union households, 23 percent of Catholics, 14 percent of Evangelicals, 8 percent of high school grads, 14 percent of both conservatives and moderates, 18 percent of independents and 13 percent of Republicans,” read a statement from NumbersUSA, which sponsored the poll.

NumbersUSA is an advocacy group that seek to shrink the annual inflow of 1 million immigrants and 700,000 temporary guest-workers.

However, it is not clear if the public will punish legislators in 2014 or 2016 for backing the sweeping changes.

Few articles or TV segments describe the scale and scope of the deal, and most portray it favorably as a job-boosting, border-securing compromise. Supporters of the bill have spent much money on lobbying, advertising, polls and outreach to friendly media.

The bill is also strongly backed by President Back Obama, who has boosted its support among Democrats above the levels seen during the 2007 immigration fight.

“It is the right thing to do… [and] it is ultimately in the interests of the Republican Party,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday.

The NumbersUSA poll paints a very different picture from other polls, many of which have been promoted by the bill’s supporters. The discordant results can be seen in a June 19 poll by Gallup, which showed that 87 percent of voters support an amnesty if illegal immigrants comply with several conditions, and 83 percent support stiffer border controls.

“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 … [and] when Americans were asked in a May Gallup poll about a list of 12 priorities for the president and Congress, they ranked reforming immigration last,” read a Gallup statement.

Other polls show a similar mix of attitudes that reflect Americans’ concurrent desires to welcome legal immigrants, and to also improve their own job security and wages.