Survey: Legalizing Illegal Aliens Risky for GOP
Nearly 80 percent of Republicans would be less likely to vote for a member of Congress who supports giving legal status to undocumented aliens, a new survey reveals.
The poll of more than 1,440 likely voters by Pulse Opinion Research asked respondents if they support reducing the illegal immigrant population “by enforcing immigration laws including requiring employers to check the legal status of workers, fortifying the border, and getting the cooperation of local police.”
Overall, 54 percent of respondents “strongly support” this approach, and another 18 percent “somewhat support” it.
But among Republicans, 88 percent said they strongly or somewhat support the approach, compared to 56 percent of Democrats.
They were also asked if they support giving legal status to aliens who pay a fine, study English, and undergo a background check. Only 29 percent strongly support that approach, while 31 percent somewhat support it. Among Republicans, just 18 percent strongly support the approach and 29 percent somewhat support it, for a total of 47 percent, compared to 76 percent of Democrats.
And when respondents were asked which of the two approaches they preferred, 58 percent chose the enforcement approach and 31 percent preferred legalization with conditions. Republicans, however, favor the enforcement method by a wide margin, 82 percent to 12 percent for conditional legalization, while just 37 percent of Democrats opted for enforcement.
When asked which political party they would be more likely to vote for, 82 percent of Republicans said a party that supports enforcing immigration laws, and just 12 percent said a party that supports legalization.
They were also asked: “If your member of Congress supported legal status for illegal immigrants, how would it affect your vote in the future?”
Results: 79 percent of Republicans would be less likely to vote for that member, including 59 percent who would be “much less likely” and 20 percent who would be “somewhat less likely.”
A paltry 5 percent said they would be “much more likely” to vote for that member.
Steven A. Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, examined the poll results and observed: “GOP leaders who support legalization risk alienating not only the general public, but the overwhelming majority of their own party.”