New Poll: Broad Support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Posted by on May 06, 2013.

The American electorate strongly supports passage of an immigration reform bill within the framework of the “Gang of Eight” Senate proposal, according to a bipartisan nationwide survey of likely general election voters conducted byDemocratic polling firm Global Strategy Group and Republican polling firm Basswood Research[1] for The poll finds strong support for comprehensive immigration reform, as well as for individual components of the proposed bill among voters of all ideologies, including conservative Republicans, liberal Democratic voters, and swing voters.  

A clear majority of voters (71% support/20% oppose) favor passing an immigration reform proposal described as including a pathway to citizenship, increasing border security, allowing more high-skilled workers and guest workers into the country, and creating employer verification requirements. 

- 74% of conservative Republicans support comprehensive immigration reform

- 67% of swing voters support comprehensive immigration reform

- 78% of liberal Democrats support comprehensive immigration reform

Republican pollster Jon Lerner noted, “A majority of voters nationwide supports a comprehensive immigration reform proposal that includes a pathway to citizenship, allowing more high-skilled workers and guest workers into the United States, securing the border, and requiring that employers verify individuals’ legal status before hiring them. Support for this package rises to roughly three-quarters (74% support/19% oppose) among conservative Republicans. Conservative Republicans are most hostile to the current failed system, with a majority believing the present situation is worse for the United States than a new system that would provide a pathway to citizenship and secure the border (52% keeping current system is worse/31% adopting the proposed new system is worse). The inclusion of border security and numerous requirements before citizenship is an option makes the bipartisan U.S. Senate proposal supported by a larger margin among conservative Republicansthan others.”

Additionally, as Democratic pollster Jef Pollock found, “Supporting the proposal is a net positive for Congressional candidates. Four in ten voters (42%) are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports comprehensive immigration reform, while just 12% say they are less likely to support a candidate who supports it. Among swing voters, a candidate’s support for the measure produces a similarly positive effect… A majority of voters support every key component in the bill, including a pathway to citizenship.  Nearly two-thirds of voters nationwide support a pathway to citizenship, including a majority ofswing voters (55%/38%).  Further, increasing border security and employer verification are almost universallysupported by the electorate.”

Nearly two-thirds of voters nationwide support a pathway to citizenship (64% support/32% oppose).  Support for other key elements of the plan are as follows: 

- 91% of voters support and 8% oppose requiring that employers verify the legal status of new hires

- 81% of voters support and 16% oppose increasing border security

- 66% of voters support and 29% oppose allowing more high-skilled workers into the country

- 59% of voters support and 38% oppose allowing more guest workers into the country

Each of these proposals earns at least 50% support – and in many cases much higher levels of support – from each of the three ideological groups referenced in this analysis (conservative Republicans, swing voters, liberal Democrats).

Additional analysis from both Lerner and Pollock is attached, and can be found online here.



[1] This survey was conducted among 1,232 likely general election voters nationwide between April 20 and April 24, 2013.  The margin of error at the 95% confidence level is+/- 2.8 percentage points. 

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