Polls: Partisan and generational divides over pathway to citizenship
April 4th, 2013
11:09 AM ET
2 years ago

Polls: Partisan and generational divides over pathway to citizenship

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


Filed under: Immigration • Polls
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    You dam right there's a generational divide. We, Generation X, are not like our parents. We grew up with the issues of gay rights, illegal immigration, guns, race, etc, and we've grown past them. It's time for the rest of the country to catch up. Our President gets it!

    April 4, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    There is a significant difference between "undocumented workers" who over stayed a work visa, and "illegal immigrants" who may have snuck across the border. Let's not throw them all into the same category.

    April 4, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  3. Ray E. (Georgia)

    ????, There is already a path to Citizenship. Millions are already using it. No legistation is needed. It already exists. If the 11 to 20 million here now get Amnesty, in 20 years there will be 20 million more wanting Amnesty. Sorry, no Amnesty.

    April 4, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. Guest

    What a bunch of cowards in the democratic party. Illegal means, inherently and definitively, that the laws of OUR nation were broken. This BS label that conservatives are not inclusive is just that. We are inclusive to those that respect our nations laws, priciples and traditions. Dont tell me how much you have to offer to America if you broke the law to get here. I wont even go into the billions of dollars / resources illegal immigrants collect that should be better spent on our citizens because you liberals just dont get it. The big picture escapes your limited intelligence.

    April 4, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. vic , nashville ,tn

    “Partisan gap as well as a generational divide” yes still they believe Self deportation

    April 4, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. John Illinois

    This is garbage. You do not reward illegal alien criminals for illegally entering our country! Cutoof all government aid and services to illegal alien criminals immediately!!! Enforce the laws we already have and secure the border!! Maybe they will go back home where they belong!

    April 4, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    There is a significant difference between "undocumented workers" who over stayed a work visa, and "illegal immigrants" who may have snuck across the border. Let's not throw them all into the same category.
    -------–
    I'm throwing them all into the same category – FELONS.

    April 4, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. Sniffit

    "I'm throwing them all into the same category – FELONS."

    And that's because you're so utterly mis- and under-informed that you don't realize it's only a civil offense, not a criminal offense.

    April 4, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    I suspect most Americans want this issue settled once and for all. And, yeah. I'm in the over 60 crowd who has listened to the arguments against citizenship ad nauseam for the past 30 years.

    April 4, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    I'm throwing them all into the same category – FELONS.
    ---------------–
    True they're all felons, but they're felons with varying degrees of guilt. Those who entered illegally are the worst offenders. Those who entered legally, but over stayed have broken the terms of their entrance. Some intentionally, while others may have simply ran out of money to leave. It would not be equal justice to lump them all together.

    Besides, I don't think most on the right making noises about "deport 'em all" have any clue or concern as to the staggering cost, not to mention the logistical nightmare that it take to actually put into practice.

    April 4, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. rla

    Ah government speak??? Illegal is illegal and the non enforcement of laws, the guilt / speak of the left and plain disregard for actual citizens is amazing... Guess if you lie enough it becomes reality! The problem still is secure the borders and get the illegals out before they destroy the citizens onlr safety net. Note there now is a rush across the border so they will be here when amnesty is declared and then in another 15 years we can amnesty another 13 million??? What are these people thinking

    April 4, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. Fair is Fair

    Sniffit

    "I'm throwing them all into the same category – FELONS."

    And that's because you're so utterly mis- and under-informed that you don't realize it's only a civil offense, not a criminal offense.
    ------–
    Just licking your chops at the possibility of all those future democrat votes, eh Sniffit?

    April 4, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. bobbuck4

    Hey Gen X I have spent the better part of 30 years playing catch up and illegal immigrants are only part of it, there's also food stamps, welfare, free health care. All the things our government loves to give away, they just have'nt figured out yet how to keep those of us that don't need those things from having to pay for it.

    April 4, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    The poll revealed no surprises. The party of angry old white men, Tea Partiers, and social conservatives are more inclined to opoose immigration reform. Unless there is a major shift in the Republican culture, rebranding efforts will be a Herculean task.

    April 4, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. Fair is Fair

    "Besides, I don't think most on the right making noises about "deport 'em all" have any clue or concern as to the staggering cost, not to mention the logistical nightmare that it take to actually put into practice."
    ------–
    Well, I agree.... but you don't go and reward them with the franchise either.

    April 4, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    One congressman from Texas made the delusional suggestion that building a 2000 mile fence along the border is not impossible, and pointed to the Great Wall of China as proof that it can be done. The Great Wall took hundreds of years and bankrupted dynasties in the process.

    April 4, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    "Besides, I don't think most on the right making noises about "deport 'em all" have any clue or concern as to the staggering cost, not to mention the logistical nightmare that it take to actually put into practice."

    Well, I agree.... but you don't go and reward them with the franchise either.
    ---------------–
    But, the right wing's solution still keeps on calling for the mass deportation of 11 mllion, or more, people...cost be damned.

    April 4, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    "But, the right wing's solution still keeps on calling for the mass deportation of 11 mllion, or more, people...cost be damned."
    ------–
    You really do generalize far too much, Rudy. For as many on the right wing saying "deport them all", there's just as many on the left wing saying "amnesty and citizenship".

    April 4, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Innigration Reform, Right Wing American Style:

    -Build a 2000 mile hi-tech fence across the southern border, while ignoring the northern border and coastlines, cost be damned.

    -Once the Texican fence is completed in a couple hundred years, deport tens of millions of people who look and talk funny, cost and logistics be damned.

    April 4, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |