Washington (CNN) – Only a quarter of Americans are angry about the number of illegal immigrants in the country, according to a new national poll. But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates that nearly three-fourths of the public are dissatisfied on the same issue.
Twenty-three percent of people questioned in the poll say they are angry, with 51 percent adding they are dissatisfied, one in five saying they are satisfied on the issue and six percent saying pleased."
"Anger is highest among blue-collar white men," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Thirty-seven percent of white men with no college degree say they are angry about illegal immigration. That figure drops to 27 percent among white women with no college degree, and to 15 percent among whites who graduated from college."
The poll's Monday release comes three days before the scheduled implementation of a new tough and controversial immigration law in Arizona. The measure, signed into law by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in April, requires police to question people about their status if they have been detained for another reason and if there is reason to suspect they're in the United States illegally. It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant laborers or knowingly transport them.
Critics have said the law will promote racial profiling. Supporters of the bill say its aim is only to enforce federal law.
Is there a racist overtone to the immigration debate?
"Most Americans don't think so, and most Hispanics share that view," says Holland. "Overall only 20 percent of all Americans think that people who favor tough laws against illegal immigrants do so because they dislike Hispanics; among Hispanics, that number rises to 34 percent, but a majority of Hispanics believe that the supporters of tough new laws are motivated more by concerns over economic conditions and law enforcement issues."
While the survey indicates that a majority of all Americans think that the main focus of U.S. policy should be to stop the flow of illegal immigrants and deport the ones that are already here, the poll suggests that whites and Hispanics disagree widely on immigration policy.
More than six in ten Hispanics say that the main focus of U.S. policy should be on stopping the flow of illegal immigrants and deporting those who are already here. Seven in ten whites say that the main focus should be on developing plans to allow illegal immigrants who hold jobs to become legal residents of the U.S. According to the survey, African-Americans are split right down the middle on that question.
The poll also suggests a partisan divide, with a majority of Democrats saying that plans to allow some illegal immigrants to become legal residents should be the top priority for the government, with a majority of independents and a vast majority of Republicans saying that stopping the flow of illegal immigration should be the main focus.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted July 16-21, with 1,018 adult Americans questioned by telephone, including a special sample of 308 black and 303 Hispanic respondents. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report