Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans support a measure that would give legal status to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children if they join the military or go to college, according to a new national survey.
But a Gallup poll released Friday also indicates wide partisan and generational divides over the issue.
Fifty-four percent of people questioned in the survey say they would vote for the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for thousands of young adults currently living in the country illegally, with 42 percent saying they would vote against the bill and four percent unsure.
The legislation, formally named the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, would have affected immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children under the age of 16 and have lived in the country for at least five years. Other requirements include graduating from high-school or obtaining a General Education Development diploma and demonstrating "good moral character."
Even then, only a six-year conditional status would be awarded. Before moving to the next phase, the students would need to meet additionalrequirements - attending college or serving in the military for at least two years, and passing criminal background checks.
Proponents, including President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders, say the bill offers legal standing to young people brought to the United States who have bettered themselves and served their new country, while opponents claim it is a form of amnesty for illegal immigrants.
According to the poll, two-thirds of Democrats say they'd vote for the measure, but that number drops to 57 percent for independent voters and 34 percent for Republicans. Two-thirds of people age 18-34 say they favor the bill, but support drops to 53 percent among those age 35-49, 50 percent among those age 50-64, and down to 43 percent among those age 65 and older.
The survey also indicates non-Hispanic whites divided on the issue, with nearly seven in ten non-whites supportive of the DREAM act.
The Gallup poll was conducted December 3-6, with 1,003 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.
– CNN's Ted Barrett and Craig Broffman contributed to this report