July 26th, 2010
12:00 PM ET
11 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. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Of course because illegal immigrants directly compete with American citizens for blue collar employment. Don't blame the illegals. Blame the corporations/ employers and hypocritical laws that are so selectively enforced. Even if there were NO illegals...the same U.S. companies would simply ship American jobs to Mexico, China or India. They don't care a bit about American jobs. It's all about the $$$

    July 26, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    It is impossible to deport 10 million illegal immagrants, It is not impossible to lock up 10 thousand employers who fail to pay S.S. taxes,workmans comp. ins. or pay the prevailing wage. No new laws are needed. shame on elected US officils for not enforceing existing laws.

    July 26, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. doug

    Once again we see that if Americans vote their values, their honesty, their decency and fairness, they will be voting Republican.

    Americans reject the Democrat way of calling everyone a racist if they don't fully and blindly support the socialism of the current Administration. We reject their Democrat divide and conquer games, we support truth over Demo-lib lies!

    July 26, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    "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's because they are being manipulated by the corporate media into scapegoating illegals and the poor for problems that really stem from global capitalism gone wild. Do you think that these Joe 12-packs ever wonder why their wages have stagnated for the past 30 years? Starting around the same time Ronnie Rayguns declared war on organized labor and the poor? The "real Americans" are about as smart as a box of rocks. Have a nice day!

    July 26, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I can care less. Republicans need their cheap labor, but won't do anything to reform the policy.

    July 26, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. W.G.

    Most of the jobs illegal immigrants do U.S. citizens wound´nt do .
    That said what a lot of U.S. Latinos are mad about is that IT IS all
    about color . What cop is going to ask a person with white skin
    for identification .

    July 26, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Bruce

    Jeez YA THINK???

    YES we are mad as hell with the whole lack of Federal response to the crisis.

    We need to nuke DC and start over!

    July 26, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. anthony

    These people do not know that the Obama Administration deported 387,790 illegal immigrants in 2009, which is the all-time record, meaning that in 2009 the Obama Administration deported illegal immigrants at a higher rate than all previous administrations, and the number is projected to reach 400,000 in 2010. The number was reported by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the Department of Homeland Security.

    July 26, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. Former Republican - Now Independent

    I am REALLY, REALLY mad about illegal immigrants.

    Can I be counted twice?

    July 26, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. aunt Bea and Opie

    We agree with R.Carter below,thanks.

    July 26, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Paul H

    Notice how these polls separate, and divide us. It's really deceptive.
    If that poll were asked among the people I see in my life black or white, working or otherwise I couldn't find one person that's okay with the way this country handles issue's over it's borders.
    Both Republicans and Democrats are weak in this area, and fall short of what really " working class Americans" (Tax payers) want.
    Take your polls, and post them. They are non reflective of the masses.

    July 26, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. hypocricnnation

    Than I Suggest Those Who Are Angry About Illegal Immigration Check Their Own Birth Certificates First.

    July 26, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. jim

    Obama is AWOL on this issue.No other country in the world lets people cross their borders like this country is doing.If they really want to become citizens then let them do it the right way like so many others have done in the past.Arizona shoud be applauded for their stand.

    July 26, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. Hendrik

    Is this not yet proof that it is the Republicans who are angry. The puppet masters are the ones who manipulate the 25%. Trust me when I say that these 25% are the most ill educated people in our country. I wish the Dems had a segment of the population they can so easily sell on ANYTHING.

    Republicans are the party of pumped up emotion. A sad lot they are indeed.

    July 26, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  15. b

    Headline should read 3 in 4 NOT angry over illegal immigration.

    July 26, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Jess C

    Yes, well no surprise to see a correlation to ones level of education.
    Sorry Doug, the words"decency" and "Republican" are mutually exclusive. Why don't you blame the businesses who hire undocumented workers than? Are those the "socialists" you are referring to? Put the blame where it belongs. Are those blue collar workers standing in line for those farm labor jobs? We need a migrant worker program, not just ignorant intolerance otherwise you'll all be screaming over the price of produce. I guess we just need something to whine about.

    July 26, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. Givemeabreak!!!

    The states should sue the federal government for refusing to enforce immigration laws.

    July 26, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. Truth Squad

    Wow, another horrible lede for the story.

    Key points:
    "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."

    So the vast majority DON'T Believe that Racism is the over-riding factor.

    So, who does: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.

    So Independents side with Republicans on this issues.

    So that means clearly that DEMOCRATS are being BLINDLY Partisan and stoking the racism angle and in doing so provoke the country. It's called race baiting.

    Final note. It mentions there si a divide between Whites and Hispanics but strangely omits the break down of hispanics while only mentioning white sentiment on deportation. I would suspect that is because hispanics by a small majority agree with the "whites" on this issue.

    Also interesting is that they mention african-american sentiment as being 50-50. So if GOP position can get 50% of AA's on an issue say good-bye partisan Dems you are backing a loser.

    July 26, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  19. gt

    they take our jobs. they are a burden on the schools , welfare, and medical use ,,, there illegal...send them home...

    July 26, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  20. dale

    Doug,
    What you are putting forth is the exact game plan of the Republican party and then blaming the Democratic party for the action for which you are guilty. You are just chaning racist for socialist, but you obviously don't see this. You must therefore be one of the poor, angry, uneducated white men.

    I sorry for the attack, but they are your own words.

    July 26, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. MrSamJL

    Who did they poll to get 1 out of 4 ? Get real. More like 9 out of 10. There are more then 1 out of 4 legal Hispanics opposed to illegal immigration. It hurts the as well as Blacks & Whites. I don't know one person & I have many Hispanic friends that feel they need to go back to the countries south of the border, Europe & Asia & apply to come here the legal way and after the economy gets straightened out to accommodate immigrants. Until then we will continue to see crime as there aren't enough jobs.

    July 26, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. La Piovra

    It seems the same undereducated white geezers who are baying * over teakettle after Sarah Palin's enticing trail of moose grease and pantyliners are the ones who are frothing over "those people" who have usurped their place. Well, would they really take the jobs immigrants do? The United Farmworkers offered these jobs on their website to any "real American" willing to have one. Somehow, there was little appetite for stoop labor or toilet-cleaning. No, the job they want is the President's, while the high-paying jobs their kind held decades ago have been offshored, chiefly by Republican plutonomists who bought enabling legislation through chiefly Republican politicians. Yet as long as their real enemies keep befuddling them with the heady odors of moose grease, Palinesque pantyliners, and nativist white entitlement, they'll keep Rushing to their doom like lemmings – and taking the country with them. How sad.

    July 26, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Steve in CT

    The calaber of the "ILLEGALs" showed the instant they crossed the border. They have criminal intent or they'd have taken the legal route. If the legal way needs changing then change it. Then cross the border legally and be more than welcomed. If a STOP sign is at a place you think shouldn't have one is it okay for you to just blow the sign? You should stop at the sign and lobby to have it removed. Once it's gone then drive through the intersection. Send them back for a do-over.

    July 26, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  24. Steve in North Carolina

    Hey Randolf Carter! You should fill in the rest of your name. It should say I'm no expert, but....I'm a commie!

    July 26, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. Really?

    How educated must we be just to enforce existing federal law?

    July 26, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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