May 31st, 2010
10:29 AM ET
5 years ago

Arizona Immigration law divides Californians

Half of all Californians support Arizona's controversial new immigration law, but the measure, which is a hot topic in next week's primaries, is dividing Golden State voters by age, ethnicity, and gender, according to a new poll.
Half of all Californians support Arizona's controversial new immigration law, but the measure, which is a hot topic in next week's primaries, is dividing Golden State voters by age, ethnicity, and gender, according to a new poll.

(CNN) - Half of all Californians support Arizona's controversial new immigration law, but the measure, which is a hot topic in next week's primaries, is dividing Golden State voters by age, ethnicity, and gender, according to a new poll.

A USC/Los Angeles Times survey released Monday indicates that 50 percent of California voters favor the Arizona measure, with 43 percent opposed and five percent unsure. Support for the law is higher in most national polls conducted over the past two months.

"California voters support the Arizona law, but not nearly by the margins we've seen in other parts of the country, " says Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

The recently enacted Arizona law initially allowed police to ask anyone for proof of legal U.S. residency, based solely on a police officer's suspicion that the person might be in the country illegally. Arizona lawmakers soon amended the law so that officers could check a person's status only if the person had been stopped or arrested for another reason.

Critics insist the law will lead to racial profiling; supporters deny the charge and insist the measure is needed to crack down on increasing crime involving illegal immigrants.

According to the poll, 58 percent of Californians age 18 to 29 oppose the Arizona law, with people age 30-44 split. Fifty-three percent of people age 45-64 back the measure, and 57 percent of people 65 and older support the law.

Fifty-three percent of men questioned in the survey favor the law. That number drops to 47 percent for women questioned in the poll.

The survey also indicates a ethnic divide, with more then seven in 10 Hispanics opposed to the law and nearly six in 10 white voters supporting the measure. Fifty-seven percent of Asian voters oppose the law, with African Americans evenly divided.

Sixty-two percent of Democrats oppose the law, while 48 percent of Republicans support the measure.

The poll suggests the law could have an impact on how Californians vote: One-third of those who oppose the law and one-fifth of those who back the measure say there's "no chance" they would vote for a candidate who disagrees with their stance on the issue.

"Opponents of the law seem much more emotionally engaged than supporters: our poll shows that a candidate's position on this issue is more likely to motivate an opponent of the new law to change their vote than a supporter," says Schnur.

According to the poll, 48 percent of California voters oppose new offshore drilling for oil in their state, a 10 point turnaround from last year. The survey indicates a partisan divide, with nearly two-thirds of Democrats opposed and just over two-thirds of Republicans supportive of new offshore drilling off the California coast.

"When Californians were paying four dollars a gallon for gasoline a few years back, support for offshore drilling grew very rapidly," adds Schnur. "When those same voters look at pictures of the Gulf spill, they're not nearly as excited about the idea."

The poll also indicates than 52 percent likely California voters back a ballot measure that aims to dramatically alter the state's primary process. Less than three in ten say they would vote against the measure and one in five is undecided. The proposal would allow all voters to cast ballots for any candidate in a primary, regardless of party affiliation. The proposed measure calls for the top two vote-getters to advance to the general election.

The USC/Los Angeles Times poll was conducted May 19-26, with 1,506 California registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: Immigration
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Looks to me like the OLD people are not keeping up with the constitution or the times.

    Just like I want to yell at McSongbird, IT'S 2010, NOT 1940.

    May 31, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    The REAL reason Californians are so hot under the collar about the Arizona law is because its going to mean more ILLEGAL ALIENS (or "undocumented democrats" if you prefer) will be foregoing Arizona and coming to their state instead. The Arizona law FORCES California to finally take action. THANK YOU ARIZONA FOR PASSING THIS PATRIOTIC AND LONG-OVERDUE LEGISLATION!!

    May 31, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. People's Voice

    If this poll were to ask only American citizens, it would result in a larger percentage of approval.

    What most people do not know is the majority of LA's population is Hispanic. Of course they are going to disapprove because it affects all their illegal cousins.

    May 31, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  4. hobart

    I think if you further polled the supporters of the new Arizona law you'd find that 99.999999999999% of them are white. And what these folks fail to understand is that the vast majority of Latinos who are opposed to this law aren't trying to protect illegals. They just don't want to be racially profiled and constantly hassled based on race.

    If white supporters of this law were willing to man up and be open to spontaneously being stopped and forced to prove citizenship too, then maybe this new law would pass constitutional muster. As written, however, it's racial profiling, and that's unconstitutional.

    Deal with it.

    May 31, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. DC Johnny

    Yet the most important stat, which they conveniently left out, is that 60% of the voters in both California and Arizona (and the rest of the country) don't even understand the BASIC PRINCIPLES of the bill itself.

    I'm sure those who voted with disapproval of the bill are aware that identification can only be requested when the PERSON IS SUSPECTED TO BE GUILTY OF OR IN THE ACT OF COMMITTING ANOTHER CRIME, right?

    All of you defenders of "civil liberties" know that, yes? That police cannot simply walk up to an innocent hispanic woman and demand paperwork. Right? You know that?

    May 31, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Brenda

    Of course older California citizens will support Arizona's law-–they have lived/seen the damage that the illegal invasion has done to their schools, hospitalis, economy, state.

    The younger age group-–just like regarding every other issue of importance-–still live their lives through their rose colored, liberal glasses.

    California is bankrupt--due to illegals and loony left liberal policies.

    They are raising taxes on citizens--and illegals are still getting benefits in the state. They are taking away benefits from citizens-–yet illegals are still getting benefits.

    May 31, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  7. Jeff Spangler

    Criminals and their comrades naturally oppose laws aimed directly at their particular brand of criminality, and there are plenty of illegal aliens in CA and AZ, or in "sanctuary" jurisdictions like Arlington VA where I live, where an all-Democratic Board of Commissioners celebrates a "diverse and inclusive" community which they are well aware contains thousands of illegals. But nearby Prince William County has enacted a tough law similar to Arizona's which has been upheld by the courts, and police have been trained to carefully avoid profiling and strictly apply the "reasonable suspicion" test which has been part of criminal law since the 1960s. The result is that illegals have fled PW County, exactly as intended. Let's all repeat: legal immigration good, illegal immigration is bad.

    May 31, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. Artie

    Isn't it amusing to discover who is doing the bulk of this protesting! Our "amigos " under the mexican flag! Who would have thought ?

    May 31, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. ifyouseenkay

    and 50%californians really upset me. so who wins?

    May 31, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  10. mac

    People we need to get on top of this. Weather you support this or not, we have a problem. In AZ the main problem is with illegal hispanics. I for one support the new law in AZ. If a person is stoped for any reason and they can't speak english, that alone is a good enough reason to ask for proof. We as a country needs to get on top of this problem. We are now seeing 2and 3 generations that started fron a single illegal person. If you don't like our flag and don't want to learn english then move back from where you came from. We don't need you.

    May 31, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. Denise L

    I am "just a mother," but these things I know: if any member of my family were threatened physically, financially, mentally, I know it is my clear and guilt-free duty to protect them. Family first. Period. I am not a bigot or right wing nut. In my extended family, there are people from Guatemala, Laos, Israel, Africa, and the Philippines. As a leader in my family though, I hope it is clear to all of them that my duty is to them, not their neighbors.
    We need Leadership that puts us first. Mexico needs Leadership that puts its citizens first. We have neither. What we have is two corrupt "leaderships" siding together against its own people. Mexico shuns its poor (despite ranking #4 in the world for the number of billionaires) and America allows its workers to be laid off and replaced with virtual slave laborers.
    Of course we all feel betrayed. But this is NOT about Mexican workers vs. American workers. It is about a complete failure of our leaders to forge better societies, to provide health care, education, direction and opportunity for its OWN citizens.
    I don't see a difference between Republicans or Democrats. I am waiting for a lone voice who says he/she will seal the border/ deport/and encourage Mexico to take care of its own.

    May 31, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. GOP is bad for America

    The future is with the younger generation. Voters 60 and older keep progress from happening (not all of them, of course, but too many). Thank goodness that this will change as time goes on and they slowly disappear. Notice that the younger generation "gets it" and has the largest amount of people opposed to the disgusting AZ law.

    May 31, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. JohnRJ08

    Californians have been as upset about illegal immigration from Mexico as many Arizonans. The difference is that Californians are angry about what it has done to the school system and crime, while Arizonans have the additional incentive of racism. This is the same state that, unlike all 49 other states, refused to recognize Martin Luther King Day.

    May 31, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  14. Bill Stapp

    Oh Oh... it looks like Los Angeles is going to have to boycott California now also

    May 31, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Half of the people of even the People's Republic of California support the Arizona law, but Obama and his friends oppose it. This is a great indication of how far out of touch with America Obama is. First the cap'n'tax thing he's still pushing, even though a majority of Americans don't want it, then the health care welfare thing he signed, even though a majority of Americans didn't want it, and now this.

    Obama &co are an appallingly arrogant lot, sure they know better than any mere citizen what we ought to want, and perfectly prepared to ram it down our throats if we disagree. This isn't how government of the people, by the people, and for the people is supposed to work.

    May 31, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. ajax

    I bet most of the people that are against the law have not even read it.Sort of reminds me of AG Holder and Homeland Security Dir. Napolitano.If you are here in this country legally than you have nothing to fear.The people that say they are againt this law should put their words into action.Take these illegals into their own communities and pay to support them.Don't leave it to the people of Arizona to shoulder the burden alone.Maybe after awhile,they wouldn't be in such a huury to criticize.

    May 31, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Bob

    Where did you fools take this poll? Mexico. Every national and Calif poll I have seen runs no less than 63 percent and most higher in favor of Arizona and considerably higher for wanting the Federal government to enforce our laws against Illegal aliens. Telephone polls are a JOKE. Put this thing on a national ballot and it would be bye bye ILLEGAL ALIENS.

    May 31, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. debbie

    Support action on illegal immigrant but NOT Az law for two reasons:

    1) AZ law is in direct conflict with 4th/14th amendment. If its between AZ and the US I stand with the US Constitution. I would have stood with Lincoln to save the Union.

    2) IF AZ, CA, TX, or NM are serious about illegals then the businesses and politicians must force the use of E-Verify. Their lack of action of this proves they talk a good game but have no intention of really doing anything other than stirring people up!. IF a business owner fails to use E-Verify then they should be jailed and fined $10,000 per illegal. That would put an immediate stop to the flow. Won't happen though because the businesses love the cheap labor and they contribute to the politicians re-election campaign. Hence zero happens.

    Hire American, Build American, Buy American

    May 31, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. Bob

    Maybe people should know this fact: 9 million Illegal aliens were given amnesty already. Our Congress for cheap labor and the vote want to give up to 20 million more Amnesty. Now (in it up) 4 million ILLEGAL aliens enter the U.S. annually so in ten years Our generous Congress and some fool Americans can give another 40 million amnesty. That makes over 60 MILLION ILLEGAL ALIENS taking your jobs and resources. Press 2 for English.

    May 31, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. Honest Abe

    Do people really wonder why the support for the Arizona law is much higher throughout the nation than in California??? Um... we have the most MEXICANS! Hello.... that was stupid. Calif. probably has more Mexicans than the rest of the nation (legal and illegal combined). This is a Mexican issue protested by Mexican-Americans and supported by all other Americans! Now the arizona law is going to have tens of thousands of mexican illegals heading to California

    May 31, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  21. Brenda

    Of course CA's don't like this law. A HUGE portion of California is illegal! Haven't you visited there?? Did you know 40% of LA county residents (LA) are illegal. Just because they say they are "registered voters" by telephone doesn't mean they are. Why would they like this law...they sneak over the border, have a baby (legal citizen now) and get gov't money. That is why CA is bankrupt.

    May 31, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. Remember the Alamo

    Of cours half of California would be against the law. Over 50% of the population are the kind who support OBAMA. He wants citizianship for all illegals so they can vote Democratic. Hades no it will not fly. Go get 'em Arizona. I wish our TX Gov. had the same guts.

    May 31, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |