Mark Zuckerberg’s technology advocacy group FWD.us along with 10 major Republican polling firms released new surveys Wednesday examining support for immigration reform.
The national survey of 800 registered voters (505 of whom were Republican) found that those surveyed overwhelmingly believe the current immigration system is broken, and that it should be immediately reformed by Congress. Of those polled, Republicans were “more convinced” than Democrats or independents “that immediate action is necessary.”
More than 75 percent of “tea party Republicans, conservative Republicans and white evangelical Republicans” who responded supported the immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013, and a majority don’t believe deportation is a “viable” solution.
A clear majority of Americans oppose amnesty for those residing in the country illegally, but a more than two-to-one margin don’t believe that the Senate immigration proposal provides amnesty. Voters against amnesty supported the legislation by a margin of 75 to 19 percent.
Republican candidates for Congress in favor of reform received a 20-point boost over other candidates from participants, especially among swing voters including “moderates, single voters, independent women and younger voters.”
In a second survey of 800 registered Hispanic voters, 49 percent blame Republicans for a lack of progress on fixing immigration, and 56 percent said a candidate’s stance “will be very important in determining their vote for Congress,” and a total of 83 percent said it will be “at least somewhat important.”
Hispanic respondents said Republicans have “decent ideas” for lowering taxes, improving small businesses and schools, and that more than three-fourths would be more likely to listen to Republicans if they supported an immigration fix.
Voters said it was “hard to support [Republicans] because they seem too unwelcoming to immigrants and Latinos,” according to the FWD.us report.
Republicans have faced diminishing support from Hispanics since former President George W. Bush cruised to re-election in 2004. Forty-nine percent said they were Democrats and 27 percent Republicans in 2006 — a 22-point deficit that grew to 39 points after immigration debates in 2008, and 48 points after similar debates in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center.
“Hispanics believe Democrats care about their needs, make an effort to win their votes, and consider them valuable members of American society, while they are more likely to think Republicans are anti-immigrant,” the report said.
Two-thirds of Hispanic voters described themselves as conservative or moderate and agreed with Republican outlooks on government, preferring a “smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes to a larger government with more services and higher taxes.” Fifty-three percent said they have voted for GOP candidates before.
The survey indicated strong support for strict border security and legal status provisions, including 76 percent in favor of visa tracking, 77 percent for an employer e-verify system, 78 percent for increased border security measures, and 90 percent for a legal status program that mandates applicants pass background checks, pay fines and back taxes, get jobs and learn English.
A quarter of Hispanics said they’d vote for Republicans no matter what, and one-half said they would support Democrats no matter what Republicans do, leaving the remaining quarter up for grabs over immigration.
“This generates a more positive electoral environment for Republicans, as it creates an opening to a significant number of swing voters for GOP candidates,” the report said.