July 26th, 2010
12:00 PM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: One in four angry over illegal immigration

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."

Full results [pdf]

"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


Filed under: CNN Polls • Immigration • issues
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Darrel from Denver

    "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."

    Exactly the base that FOX News and others like them prey and rely on. The Republicans, in particular, would like this to serve to drive these folks to their side.

    July 26, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. Darrel from Denver

    This, of course, means 3 in 4 are not. That, clearly, can't be the lead though, right? It destroys the story FOX and others have been trying to foment amonst the uneducated laity for the past few years and, especially, in this election cycle.

    July 26, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. devon

    I am a 33yr old woman (white with a Masters degree if that matters) and I have no problem with illegal immigrants....legalize them and make them pay taxes

    July 26, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. mj

    It is outrageous that the the White House chose to sue Arizona instead of enforcing existing laws. Not only do we have drug cartels and felons crossing our border, but it is much easier for terrorists to enter. Amnesty? No Way! Obama's only reason would be to acquire votes.

    July 26, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. Capricorn123

    Im flabergasted by the results. Did you really ask the right questions? Im not a bigot, racist or anything else, Im just plain tired of the free ride. If you want to come to this country and make a living do so legally. If you dont then you have earned the right to be deported. I am a host of different natiionalities and my relatives immigrated here from Germany and I am also native americian so, dont assume that because I disagree with today immigration reform that I am racist. What we are doing is stealing from the hard working americans that are legal, by allowing the illegal immigrant to continue the trend of working under the table and avoiding paying taxes. They undermine the workforce and steal from the hardworking americians. To me it is stealing as they are commiting a crime in every aspect. Stop the insantity throw out the politics and do the right thing the every legal working american.

    July 26, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. Orlando Patriot

    Scenario: I come back from vacation and I find someone living in my house. I tell them to get the hell out of my house!! They tell me they cleaned the kitchen and if I let him stay he will continue to clean my house for a very small payment each week. Wait a minute!! Are you asking me to allow you to stay in my house AFTER you broke into my house illegally? Are you crazy? If I need to pay someone to clean my kitchen it will be someone I SELECT that believes in our laws and country. GET THE HELL OUT!!

    Can we get rid of all 10 million? ABSOLUTELY!! By initiating laws similar to Arizona AND to penalize any company found hiring an illegal alien. Once we get rid of the first bunch that are caught and sent back we can start to get a handle on how many that is. THEN AND ONLY THEN CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW MANY LEGAL IMMIGRANTS WE WILL CONSIDER LETTING IN!!

    In summary, if you are here illegally then you don't care about this country or its laws so GET THE HELL OUT OF MY COUNTRY!!

    July 26, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    Doug, there you go again, projecting on Democrats what you're unwilling to admit you and the Republicans possess.

    Republicans are the ones:

    - with the loyalty litmus tests, backed up by your slobbering pitbull Limbaugh, ready to boot out of the party anyone who doesn't agree with him.

    - who lied us into war with Iraq (no honesty there)

    - who preach family values and use anti-gay rhetoric while having affairs (many more so than Democrats)

    - who slander true heroes in their bids for power (labeling the Viet Nam veteran Max Cleland – who lost three of his limbs in service to his country – unpatriotic, while your flock of chickenhawks send our young service people to their deaths)

    Look in the mirror, Doug, and man up. Admit your party is the one determined to take our country down the tubes for the sake of power and multi-national corporate interests.

    July 26, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. obama victim

    blue collar white men...a k a unions ...were very helpful in the Obama election....they are fleeing......C ya Barry

    July 26, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. NC

    I'm angry because it was 101 degrees yesterday, who do I blame for the heat.

    July 26, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain

    It's sadly amusing how the GOP, bereft of ideas, burdened with tried-and-failed policies, have resorted to promoting wedge policies designed to divide and hurt our country.

    No one cared about illegal immigration until around 2006, when Karl Rove and Fox suddenly started covering it.

    Until then, illegal immigrants were simply a great source of cheap labor, as employers fired legal citizens paid a living wage with benefits in favor of hiring illegal workers and paying them sub-standard wages without benefits or workplace safety rules.

    These employers knew they had the upper hand, doing what they wanted to their illegal employees whom they could turn in to the INS should they ever complain about their working conditions.

    Lastly, and most cynically, these employers knew that by paying their illegal workers sub-standard wages without benefits or protections, that they (the workers) would make ends meet by utilizing state and federal social welfare services.

    And now, in a time of economic uncertainty and strained state and federal coffers, the GOP has absolutely no qualms blaming our nation’s fiscal problems on illegal immigrants, using them as a diversion from the reality that the GOP cares only about money and sees our nation as nothing more than something to exploit.

    GOP = Party Before CountryIt's sadly amusing how the GOP, bereft of ideas, burdened with tried-and-failed policies, have resorted to promoting wedge policies designed to divide and hurt our country.

    No one cared about illegal immigration until around 2006, when Karl Rove and Fox suddenly started covering it.

    Until then, illegal immigrants were simply a great source of cheap labor, as employers fired legal citizens paid a living wage with benefits in favor of hiring illegal workers and paying them sub-standard wages without benefits or workplace safety rules.

    These employers knew they had the upper hand, doing what they wanted to their illegal employees whom they could turn in to the INS should they ever complain about their working conditions.

    Lastly, and most cynically, these employers knew that by paying their illegal workers sub-standard wages without benefits or protections, that they (the workers) would make ends meet by utilizing state and federal social welfare services.

    And now, in a time of economic uncertainty and strained state and federal coffers, the GOP has absolutely no qualms blaming our nation’s fiscal problems on illegal immigrants, using them as a diversion from the reality that the GOP cares only about money and sees our nation as nothing more than something to exploit.

    GOP = Utterly despicable!

    July 26, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Michae

    Well doug, obviously you are one of the dumbest people on the planet if you think republicans stand for honesty and values ha ha. Yea like Cantor and Boehner and McConnell even know what the truth is... a lie to them is just everyday converstion. No wonder idiots like Glenn Beck have followers like you.

    You are a good example of the dumbing down of America lol!

    July 26, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. Sniffit again

    And most Americans support the AZ law. Why does Obama and his crazy administration fight everything the majority supports?

    July 26, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. Julia- Idaho Native American

    I remember other people that felt their country was being taken over by white people, I think they call them Native Americans. These white invaders didn't work to help society, they murdered thousands of Native Americans, took their land, starved their children, and call it Democracy, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Don't forget they had slaves, to work for nothin; on their plantations, At least the hispanic people are willing to work in the American Sweat Shops, long hours in the fields, many hispanics are dropping dead from the heat, Great Example of Democracy, looks like ya-all have a long way to go, before you can critize the immigrants, your dirty little door steps need a lot of cleanin' Yep, Democracy, as defined above is mirror image of hypocrisy.

    July 26, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. A Kickin' Donkey

    Isn't it those "blue collar white men" that fit the demogreaphic of the FOX Nes viewers ???? of Rush Limbaugh's radio show ??? don't many of them want to do Sarah Palin and if they can't get her then Ann Coltier ???

    None of the organizations listed above has any JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY. I can't wait for these entities to be held responsible for their selective and manipulative broadcasts.

    I suggest that hispanics start buy boycotting the products that advertise on these shows. There is a price to lying .... let these shows start paying it!

    July 26, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. Tough Love

    You want to curb illegal immigration ??? the solution is simple...

    Lock up the white men that run the companies that hire the illegals ...

    When this starts, the demand for the labor will dry up and the problem will go away

    July 26, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    All we have to do is follow Arizona's lead and they will self deport .

    July 26, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
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