Almost 90% of Latino voters say they “support” or “strongly support” Obama’s executive action, according to a national poll by Latino Decisions and commissioned by two pro-immigration reform groups, Presente.org and Mi Familia Vota. Nearly three-fourths (72%) of voters under the age of 35 supported the president’s action, according to a national poll by Hart Research Associates [PDF]. …
Latino support for the executive action appears to be largely bipartisan, according to Latino Decisions. While 95% of Democratic Latino voters were in favor of the executive action, 76% of Republican Latinos were as well. The issue of immigration reform remains deeply personal for many Latino voters, 64% of whom have friends, family members, coworkers, or acquaintances who are undocumented.
Another survey, however, finds that the public as a whole is evenly split:
The Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday found that 45% of voters support the President’s immigration moves, while 48% oppose them.
The poll also shows support for immigrants at its lowest level ever measured by Qunnipiac: 48% of voters say undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay with a path to citizenship, down from 57% in November of 2013. And 35% say undocumented immigrants should be required to leave the U.S., up from 26% a year ago. “Americans look at immigration reform with ambivalence,” said assistant Quinnipiac polling Tim Malloy said.
Josh Marshall infers from the Latino Decisions poll that legal immigrants—whom opponents of amnesty often argue would be hurt the most by it—support Obama’s action:
The poll, by Latino Decisions, does not break out native born Hispanic voters from immigrant Hispanic voters. But it does break out the numbers for respondents who talked with the pollsters in English or Spanish. That seems like a relatively good proxy for native vs. immigrant. The “Spanish” number is 94% compared to 85% for “English”. When you pick the numbers apart, they are so overwhelming that there’s really no way to argue that legal immigrants are less than overwhelmingly, perhaps close to unanimous in their support of this policy.
Now, let me be crystal clear: I do not find this remotely surprising. Immigration status cuts through numerous immigrant communities – Hispanic immigrant communities as much as any other. So it is not surprising that Hispanic voters are supportive. Recent immigrants, even if they were never undocumented, seem to empathize with the status of immigrants generally. It seems like the people who believe legal immigrants are victims of legalization for undocumented immigrants are native born white people who vote for the Republican party.
Waldman, though, wonders if Latino Decisions didn’t skew the poll somewhat with the way they framed the question:
There’s nothing biased in the Latino Decisions poll including the description it does of the action. The problem is in the question’s first sentence: “President Obama has said that Congress has had many chances to pass and immigration bill and they failed.” That’s perfectly true, but standard practice says that if you’re going to include an argument that one side uses on an issue, you should include an argument that the other side makes as well; in this case, something like “Republicans say that Obama is exceeding his authority by taking this action without congressional approval.” By presenting an argument for one side but not the other, they’ve encouraged respondents to lean in one direction. That’s very common among polls done for private clients, but it does skew the results.
That isn’t to say that approval of Obama’s actions isn’t extremely high among Latinos, or that if you asked the question a different way you might not get similar results.