Immigration Reform: Americans Saying The Time Is Now

There has been a lot of talk this year about the “gang of eight” and the time finally being ripe for meaningful immigration reform in America.  A quick look at some of the polling conducted on this issue so far in 2013 very clearly shows us an American public ready for its leaders to take action.  Americans (1) see the current system as broken and in need of serious reform; (2) feel major immigration reform this year is “essential;” and (3) want a “long term” solution, not just a quick fix.

A bipartisan poll conducted in January of this year by Hart Research and Public Opinion Strategies showed that a mere twenty percent (20%) of Americans feel that the current immigration system is “working well.”  Conversely, seventy-five percent (75%) of Americans told us they feel the system is either “not working well” (29%) or “needs a complete overhaul” (46%).  In my home state of California, the new USC/LA Times poll shows two-thirds (67%) of California voters expressing their opinion that the immigration system in the United States either needs “major changes” (31%) or a “complete overhaul” (36%).

According to the bipartisan Hart Research/Public Opinion Strategies poll from January, eighty four percent (84%) of Republicans, sixty-four percent (64%) of Democrats, and seventy-nine percent (79%) of Independents now share the belief that the current immigration system is either not working well or needs a complete overhaul.  According to the new USC/LA Times Poll, only thirty-one percent (31%) of California Democrats now feel that the immigration system is working well while a strong sixty-four percent (64%) of Democrats now share the sentiment more popular with Republicans (79%) that the system is not working well or needs a complete overhaul.

Concern about the current immigration system is evident among both Caucasians and Hispanics/Latinos.  The Hart Research/Public Opinion Strategies polled showed that seventy-nine percent (79%) of Caucasians and sixty-seven percent (67%) of Hispanic/Latinos feel that the system is not working well or needs a complete overhaul.  Among the California voters surveyed on the USC/LA Times Poll, seventy-five percent (75%) of Caucasians along with a majority (54%) of Hispanic/Latinos shared this belief that the current system is not working.

While there is now wide consensus that the current system is broken, the phrase “immigration reform” has been commonly used as a catch-all ranging from meaning stricter border security, to tougher employer sanctions for hiring illegals, to the debate about creating a pathway to citizenship.  But as the debate continues forward, what is clear is that Americans would like there to be action – and a long term fix – regarding this issue.

Americans want “major reform” sooner rather than later.  Another national poll, conducted in February by the Pew Research Center and USA Today, showed that a very strong fifty-one percent (51%) of Americans feel that it is “essential” for President Obama and Congress to pass major immigration reform this year.  Only “passing major legislation to reduce the federal budget deficit” at seventy percent (70%) is considered to be more essential this year.

Finally, the American public wants their leaders to find a lasting solution, not just a quick fix.  According to the Hart Research/Public Opinion Strategies poll in January, when immigration reform does take place, almost eighty percent (79%) of Americans feel it should be a high priority to “pass a long term solution that fixes the immigration problem once and for all.”  Once again, voters of all partisan and ethnic stripes share in this desire to see the issue solved for good.  Over eighty percent (83%) of Republicans share this belief along with seventy-eight percent (78%) of Democrats and seventy-six percent (76%) of Independents.  Along ethnic lines, eighty percent (80%) of Caucasians and seventy-five percent (75%) of Hispanic/Latinos expressed a need for a long-term solution.

Specific components of immigration reform such as border enforcement, employment verification systems, guest worker programs, and paths to citizenship are still very contentious issues, and reaching a bipartisan solution that can build broad majority support will still certainly not be an easy task.  That said, as we and our leaders continue to debate the specific components of this “meaningful immigration reform” as the year goes on, the numbers make it very hard to argue with the fact that not getting the job done very soon would be a real missed opportunity as Americans truly feel that the time for reform is now.

Similar Articles

  • Public Opinion Strategies Congratulates Karen Handel on Winning GA-06
    read more

  • The Democrats’ Pivot
    read more

  • ARE AMERICANS “OVER” PRESIDENT OBAMA?
    read more

  • POS IN THE NEWS – DECEMBER 13, 2013
    read more

  • The Cutting is the Hardest Part
    read more

Public Opinion Strategies helped us to clarify what we wanted to learn and then conducted research and analysis that shed light even beyond the questions we set out to ask. They were very receptive to our suggestions, responsive to our queries, and flexible when we needed them to be.

Public Opinion Strategies has consistently offered unparalleled advice and spot-on polling that has shaped how and where we spent money and deploy key resources. Additionally, they have always been an excellent steward of limited campaign resources, ensuring we spend wisely and not a dollar more than necessary in order to get the information we need.

Robert Blizzard and Public Opinion Strategies did a great job for us throughout our successful campaign for Congress. Robert gave us accurate data, spot on analysis, and professional advice, all of which were essential to our victory.

Public Opinion Strategies is one of our go-to pollsters when it comes to testing public support for bond ballot measures and other initiative proposals. They are available to provide ongoing consultation with regard to crafting of ballot questions, public outreach messaging, and related efforts.

ACLI has worked with Public Opinion Strategies for decades, through several tough industry battles—often ones in which public opinion does not naturally fall on the side of insurers. Yet Bill and his team consistently provide invaluable strategic advice by refining our messages and helping us frame our issues in a way that makes them understandable and persuasive.

The data from Public Opinion Strategies provided important insight and informed our public awareness campaign. We sincerely appreciate their professionalism and expertise in this arena.

Nicole McCleskey and the team at Public Opinion Strategies have been invaluable to me, both during my campaigns and as Governor of the State of New Mexico. It’s not just the accuracy of their numbers, but guiding the overall strategy that makes them so valuable.

Public Opinion Strategies has been a part of our team in Missouri for more than a decade. With their data and guidance, Republicans here were able to attain a majority in the House in 2002 for the first time in fifty years, and we have been able to grow that majority to the point that we now have a record, veto-proof majority.

In my tenure at two leading business associations, facing huge and complex consumer issues, I have benefitted enormously from the objective advisory skills of Bill and his team. They do their homework, they are rigorous, dispassionate and thoughtful. Turning questions into answers is a clever tag, but it’s also an apt description of the professional talents of the firm.

I consider Public Opinion Strategies to be a part of our team. That is the way we have always worked. They have helped us to understand our needs and fashioned research solutions to meet those needs. They have helped us to meet killer deadlines by being flexible, executing rapidly, and insuring quality. Teamwork is the best way to describe it.

Accuracy, speed, and deep knowledge of key issues and public sentiment are the hallmarks of quality opinion research, and on these measures Public Opinion Strategies consistently delivers. I have had the pleasure of working with Public Opinion Strategies for more than 15 years on dozens of issues, and they are undoubtedly the gold standard.

Public Opinion Strategies’ track record of success and wealth of experience in political campaigns and issue advocacy are why they are one of the most trusted and well respected public opinion firms in Washington, D.C. Their insights and perspectives have helped to inform a wide array of public affairs activities across multiple industries.