CBS Poll Shows Obama, Immigration, In The Pits

President Barack Obama’s poll ratings are stuck at 43 percent, and the public is still demanding that government enforce immigration law before it offers amnesty to illegal immigrants, according to a new CBS poll.

The May 22 poll of 1,009 adults shows that 48 percent disapprove of Obama’s record, down slightly from March, when 50 percent approved.

Only 42 percent rate him positively on the economy, only 43 percent support his health-care policies, and only 39 percent back his foreign policies.

If his ratings remain low, Democrats are likely to suffer many losses in the November elections.

Obama is also facing a wall of public opposition on his chief second-term policy, boosting immigration, where 55 percent of adults say the government should focus on securing the border before moving on to other actions, such as an amnesty.

Only 37 percent of adults say “addressing the status of illegal immigrants” should be a higher priority.

The poll also highlighted Americans’ ambivalence about immigration, when it asked Americans what should be done with the illegal immigrants now living in the United States without saying roughly 12 million illegals are living in the United States.

The result showed greater sympathy for the illegals. Forty percent of GOP supporters and 69 percent of independents, said they illegals should be allowed to stay. Forty-five percent of Republicans and 29 percent of independents said they should be required to leave. Overall, a bare majority of adults, 51 percent, said they favored an amnesty for illegal immigrants currently living in the United States.

But when respondents were allowed to choose between two popular goals — border security or some form of amnesty — the support for illegals dropped sharply. The swing-voting independents picked security over amnesty by 55 percent to 35 percent, and GOP supporters favored security by two to one, 64 percent to 31 percent.


Even among Democrats, support for border enforcement exceeded support for some form of amnesty, by 50 percent to 44 percent.

Those security-before-amnesty numbers are essentially unchanged since July, according to the CBS report.

That’s a problem for Obama, his progressive allies and for business donors.

They’re collectively pressuring GOP leaders to back the Senate immigration bill that would effectively double the annual inflow of guest workers and immigrants, long before new border and airport security checks survive lawsuits by pro-immigration groups.

GOP leaders are trying to downplay the debate, partly to prevent a vote-losing battle between their voters and wealthy donors. But top leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, may decide to side with the donors later in year and push through an immigration-increasing bill.

Since 2000, the U.S. has accepted 10 million guest-workers and 13.5 million immigrants. That inflow has boosted the supply of new labor by roughly 50 percent, which otherwise would be limited to the four million Americans who turn 18 each year.

The CBS poll likely understated opposition to new immigration, partly because it did not describe the scale of the current inflow. A May 2013 poll by Rasmussen revealed that only 10 percent of Americans know the current inflow of legal immigrants is roughly 1 million per year.