Washington (CNN) - More Americans oppose rather than support the federal government's lawsuit against Arizona's tough new immigration law, according to a new poll.
A Pew Research Center/National Journal survey indicates that 45 percent of the public disapproves of the Justice Department's move last week to block implementation of the law, with 36 percent approving of the action, and 19 percent unsure.
The measure, which is scheduled to take effect later this month, requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and allows police to question the residency status of people in the course of enforcing another law. It also targets businesses that hire illegal immigrant laborers or knowingly transports them.
Passage of the measure earlier this year ignited protests in the state and across the country. Some opposing the law are urging economic boycotts of Arizona. Supporters say it is needed to confront rising problems involving illegal immigrants in Arizona, particularly those with criminal records. And they add that a lack of action by the federal government on the issue is forcing states to take action.
The poll, released Monday, indicates a large partisan divide, with two thirds of Republicans questioned opposed to the lawsuit, and only one in five in favor of the legal action against the Arizona law. But 49 percent of Democratic respondents support the lawsuit, with 28 percent opposed. Forty-nine percent of Independents oppose the lawsuit, with 36 percent in favor.
According to the survey, a plurality of people age 18-29 support the lawsuit, with nearly six out of ten people 65 and older opposing the legal action.
"That's an indication that older Americans, who tend to be more resistant to change on a number of levels, are concerned by the changes that immigration has brought to the U.S." says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Younger Americans tend to embrace change more readily, and changes in the racial and ethnic make-up of this country are among the biggest ones that generation will face."
The Pew Research Center/National Journal poll was conducted July 8-11, with 1,001 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.
The Pew poll came out the same day that a Quinnipiac University survey indicated that six out of ten Pennsylvania voters say the federal government's lawsuit to block implementation of the measure is a bad idea, with 27 percent backing the Justice Department's legal action.