Washington (CNN) - As Congress tries to reach consensus on how to deal with border security and immigration reform, two new national polls indicate that nearly six in ten Americans support an eventual pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers.
But the surveys point to a wide partisan gap as well as a generational divide over the proposal, which appears to be the most contentious part of the debate over immigration reform.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll, which was released Thursday, 59% of voters nationwide said undocumented workers should be allowed to stay in the country and eventually apply for citizenship, with 11% saying they should stay but not be allowed to apply for citizenship and one in four saying they should be required to leave the U.S.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll released one day earlier has similar results, with 57% supporting a process by which undocumented workers may eventually become U.S. citizens, and four in ten opposed.
Both surveys point to wide partisan divides, with nearly three-quarters of Democrats questioned in the Quinnipiac poll supporting an eventual path for citizenship. That number drops to 54% among independents and 47% among Republicans. The ABC/Washington Post poll indicates an even wider divide, with 73% of Democrats, 58% of independents, but only 35% of Republicans backing a pathway to citizenship.
According to the ABC/Washington Post poll, there's also a generational divide, with two-thirds of those under 40, but only 51% of those 40 and older, supportive of allowing undocumented workers to eventually apply for citizenship. The generational gap in the Quinnipiac University poll exists, but is smaller.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted March 26-April 1, with 1,711 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.
The ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted March 27-30, with 1,014 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report