Poll: Majority back path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants
December 10th, 2012
09:37 AM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Majority back path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants

Washington (CNN) - A new national poll indicates a majority of American voters say they support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

According to the Politico/George Washington University Battleground survey released Monday, 62% of registered voters say they back an immigration reform proposal that would allow illegal or undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship over a period of several years, with 35% opposed.

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The new poll is in line with an ABC News/Washington Post survey conducted right after the November election that indicated Americans supported a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants by a 57%-39% margin.

And a CNN/ORC International poll conducted in late September indicated 56% of registered voters said the main focus of U.S. policy on illegal immigration should be a plan to allow them to become legal residents, with less than four in ten saying the main emphasis should be deporting illegal immigrants and stopping more from coming to the U.S. That was a switch from last year, when only a minority said the main focus should be to allow illegal immigrants to become legal residents.

The new survey's release comes as reports suggest President Barack Obama may put his attention on pushing immigration reform next month, after the hopeful resolution of negotiations to prevent the country from falling off the fiscal cliff. Any deal on immigration could possibly include a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

According to the Politico/George Washington University poll, 74% of Democrats and 61% of independents back a plan that would give undocumented immigrants eventual citizenship, with 49% of Republicans in favor and 45% opposed.

The survey also indicates that more than three quarters of voters support a push to allow the children of undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. permanently if they complete college or serve in the armed forces. The legislative proposal, known as the DREAM Act, has not been passed by Congress, but 12 states have similar laws.

Although Obama overwhelming won the Latino vote in the presidential election, he was criticized during the campaign for not forcefully pushing immigration reform during his first term in the White House. By a 48%-45% margin, voters disapprove of the job he's doing handling the immigration issue.

Only 2% of those questioned in the survey say illegal immigration is their most important issue, far behind government spending, jobs and the economy.

The Politico/George Washington University Battleground poll was conducted Dec. 2-6, with 1,000 registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: Immigration • Polls
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. gladiatorgrl

    People need to read history.... the thousands or immigrants Asians, Irish, Italians, Eastern Europeans many of them did not have "papers" the slang WOP agains Italians means "without papers" – just b/c ones relatives got here first and got in does not mean we slam the door in others faces.

    Yes, we need contros BUT 5 million people are NOT going to self deport.

    December 10, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    The Dems want the public to believe that.

    The truth is something quite different.......but since CNN is controlled by the Dems, they will report a lie.

    December 10, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. Al-NY,NY

    yet another issue that the GOP loses big time. At least some have the good sense to agree while the other xenophobes and just general haters would like to see all those "people" rounded up and thrown into cattle cars for efficient processing.

    December 10, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. Kenneth

    I wonder what this "country" would look like if Native Americans possessed the ability to enforce the same immigration laws that the "United" States currently attempt to enforce??? That is if the disease ridden blankets, pure grain alcohol, and the cavalry had allowed them to determine their own fate vice being forced onto "reservations" ...

    December 10, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  5. Larry L

    I'd support a path to citizenship if the process required some efficient filtering for physical & mental health problems, education/jobs skills, and history of criminal activity. Our medical, social welfare, education, and law enforcement systems can't bear the burden of an influx of people who may require extensive support. It's not about kindness or hatred – it's just math.

    December 10, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  6. Havildar

    We should applaud not hate the people who cross over to the US without proper entry documents. This is a land of immigrants many of them (or their ancestors) had to do endure tough conditions to entry this country and be a success. All people living in the USA should have a legal pathway to become a full Tax Paying Citizen. The people without the proper documents do jobs which very few citizens want or are willing to do at the "low pay scales" that they have to accept in order to work. They pay taxes without getting any benefits/credits from it. It is time to stop being the "dog in the manager" and learn to being a "good honest human being" a true American.

    December 10, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. Larry L

    @Rick McDaniel

    The Dems want the public to believe that.

    The truth is something quite different.......but since CNN is controlled by the Dems, they will report a lie.
    Read the article. CNN is quoting their own poll plus an ABC News/Washington Post survey and the Politico/George Washington University Battleground poll. Go back to Fox News and you'll be happy. They'll never tell you anything you don't want to hear.

    December 10, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  8. Stewart

    We don't need no stinkin' reform, we need legal entrances to the US. How many legal entrances does the infamous Arizona have at it's border? Anyone?
    Answer: NONE. That's fair to deport from Arizona for not entering legally, when there is no legal entrance in the state? Not so much.
    See USCIS International offices to verify – There is only one entrance at the border – Ciudad Juarez – murder capital of the world.

    December 10, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  9. plain&simple

    Weather people want to put up fences,barb wire or walls to keep people out, or deny health care or education to children.....it goes against everything this country has stood for. Freedom and equality!!!! We are a humane society....and a conscious effort will keep us this way. The fearmongers among us live in fear of not having enough,yet they are the ones with so much and so afraid of losing it! Irrational as it may be they want everyone to share that fear so they feel safe..... God bless America and the will to do what is right.

    December 10, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  10. nothing new here

    Boy, I just wish the American people could deport these politicians!
    Even though I would prefer that our foolish leaders actually do their jobs for once, it is more important to start getting these immigrants to start paying taxes. Yes, I said it, T A X E S.

    December 10, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. Sniffit

    "if the process required some efficient filtering for physical & mental health problems, education/jobs skills, and history of criminal activity"

    "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

    December 10, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. betterdays

    Actually, the majority back giving everything to anyone who wants it, as long as the recipient appears "oppressed" in some fashion. That's because the majority have no concept of relationship between cause and effect. So when unintended consequences kick in, it must be somebody else's fault - usuallly someone more financially successful than the "victim." It's called "bleeding heart syndrome." I watch in amusement as, ultimately, none of this utopian nonsense works and the culture continues to get "better" for a relative handful of people in America and worse for the vast majority. So keep up the "good" work... If you want to see the fruits of your labor, take a good look at the spelling and grammar in these comments. That's the new normal.

    December 10, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. nothing new here

    @Rick McDaniel

    The Dems want the public to believe that.

    The truth is something quite different.......but since CNN is controlled by the Dems, they will report a lie.
    How about some priorities here?
    There is a trillion $ war being waged on LEGAL Americans – it is called the "War of Drugs".
    Where is all the outrage about that?

    December 10, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. betterdays

    Spare me the moral superiority about the Native Americans' response to invasion. They responded with bow and arrow, hatchet, and whatever guns they could get their hands on. They just weren't good enough at it. If we used the same "enforcement" methods the natives used, we'd be butchering Mexicans left and right. (Or making bad treaties and giving huge chunks of the country away, which appears to be the way the wind is currently blowing....)

    December 10, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. Data Driven

    Of course Americans are in favor. Most are sensible enough to realize that we need someone to do all those jobs we're "too good" to do, like agricultural labor, motel cleaning, and, most desirably, fighting our little wars in Afghanistan and other garden spots. Those individuals who howl with outrage about this issue are most likely ignorant and have some sort of racial animus.

    December 10, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. vic , nashville ,tn

    About time, they are living in the shadow very long time

    December 10, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. Wake up People!

    I agree with Kenneth. This land belonged to the Native Americans until a certain group of people decided they wanted this land by any means necessary. Then to add insult to injury the same group decided they needed workers to work the land for free. So they set out to Africa, to find some darkies to enslave, kidnap, rape and kill them, and they became their property. For one race to assume they are superior to others is sad.

    The bottom line is EVERYONE comes from immigrants UNLESS you are Native American.

    December 10, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  18. judy

    love to hear all the true Americans complain. We all came from somewhere else unless native. So shut up we are all immigrants from somewhere. ridiculous to try and send people to another country when this has been their home. Besides what would the romneys do for lawn care and some one to take care of their horses. ???

    December 10, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  19. Facts don't Lie

    guess it really doesn't matter that under Obama more have been deported and now less are crossing the borders to come here. Sometimes though I wonder how many of us would be here today had the Native Americans (aka Indians) felst the same way that many on the right feel.

    December 10, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. plain&simple

    @ Betterdays....give up your superior attitude,it has isolated you from the wonders of common joys. Seeing people achieve,grow and prosper! Immigrants yearn to spell and know grammer as well as you. That's why public education is so important. One day this country will be full of educated,productive people....this is not a utopian dream...its a goal that is becoming more achievable with each individual seeing there is more to life than ones own accomplishments!! It's ok to get if ones motivation is to give.

    December 10, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. Le

    They have lived here with free healthcare at our hospitals and schooling. Don't you think that is enough. For those of us that came here legally and spent years getting our citizenship its an insult. I can see working on immigration where those with specialized skills and higher education go to the top of the list for citizenship and all others get in line behind them. For illegals they should have to pay a fine and get in line like the rest of us. Do they think they are special or something?

    December 10, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. Jerubbaal

    Let us be honest, the Rick Mcdaniels of the world are against immigration simply due to fear. These are the individuals who desire to have an inferior class of people to look down on in order for them to feel superior. They fear the browning of the US because they think it endangers their favored status. They develop a mindset of hate, fear and ignorance for those different then themselves. They attack and belittle in order to subjugate. It is of a small mind and great burden to carry this burden. May God Almighty truly release you of this awful and ungodly burden.

    December 10, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  23. Gurgyl

    I think it is the time ripe for passing STRINGENT IMMIGRATION MEASURES. We also need to stop H1B, J1, B1, L1 visas for a while. Most of the guys are NOT RETURNING TO THEIR HOME COUNTRIES. Exploiting our system Nd ABUSING. Stop visas from INDIA WND MUSLIM NATIONS for a while. Cheating is so rampant. More populous less prosperous.

    December 10, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |