One-in-eight Americans believe the inflow of immigrants is only 250,000 people per year, the poll said. The actual rate, based on current net migration rate of 3.64 per 1,000 population, comes to just over 1.1 million per year.
Fifty-six percent of adults believe fewer legal immigrants arrive than illegal immigrants, even though the inflow of illegal immigrants has dropped to almost zero since the housing crash of 2007.
Few media reports about the immigration debate cite numbers about current and project inflows.
To boost their case, business groups cite business-funded polls showing high support — up to 80 percent — for a staged amnesty that is coupled with a series of conditions, such as improved border security, payment of back taxes and use of English.
To win approval for the bill, business groups are funding ads that highlight increased border security, but do not mention the increased inflow of immigrants.
But Obama’s strong support for the bill may be shifting the numbers, at least among partisan Democrats.
Gallup’s new poll showed a steady rise in support for immigration, up from 14 percent when Obama and his deputies declared their support for additional immigration in 2009, to 25 percent in July. The rise was fueled by an increased among Democrats and white Americans, said the poll.
Democratic leaders have made a strategic decision to seek the support of the growing Latino demographic.
Since 2010, Democrats, led by Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, have embraced the immigrant Latino demographic, despite fears that it would cost support among other Americans.
Some of those costs are highlighted by the Quinnipiac poll, which shows that 55 percent of independents, 35 percent of Hispanics, and 18 percent of Democrats oppose the president’s immigration policy.
He’s got support from 75 percent of Democrats, 35 percent of independents, 77 percent of blacks, 62 percent of Hispanics.
Among people with college degrees, the president has 50 percent support and 44 percent disapproval. Among people without college degrees, he’s facing 38 percent approval and 53 percent disapproval.
The drop-off in support among lower-income voters is pushing efforts by GOP reformers to argue that the GOP’s support among whites and Hispanics would be boosted by a low-immigration, high-wage policy.
“If there is any lesson for the GOP to learn from 2012, it’s that we must do a better job fighting for and connecting with working Americans of all backgrounds — immigrant and native-born alike — whose wages have fallen and whose employment opportunities have increasingly diminished,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, said in a July 10 article in National Review.
“By doing the right thing on immigration, the GOP can distance our party from the corporate titans who believe the immigration policy for our entire country should be modeled to pad their bottom line,” he wrote.
Overall, Quinnipiac reported that Obama has 44 percent approval, and 48 disapproval, from its panel of 2,014 voters.