Broad Approval for New Arizona Immigration Law

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, May 12, 2010

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Fully 73% say they approve of requiring people to produce documents verifying their legal status if police ask for them. Two-thirds (67%) approve of allowing police to detain anyone who cannot verify their legal status, while 62% approve of allowing police to question people they think may be in the country illegally.

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The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted May 6-9 among 994 adults, finds that Democrats are evenly split over Arizona’s new immigration law: 45% approve of the law and 46% disapprove. However, majorities of Democrats approve of two of the law’s principal provisions: requiring people to produce documents verifying legal status (65%) and allowing police to detain anyone unable to verify their legal status (55%).

Republicans overwhelmingly approve of the law and three provisions tested. Similarly, among independents there is little difference in opinions of the new Arizona law (64% approve) and its elements, which are viewed positively.

Young people are less supportive of the Arizona immigration law than are older Americans. Fewer than half (45%) of those younger than 30 approve of the new law while 47% disapprove. Majorities of older age groups–including 74% of those 65 and older–approve of the law.

However, even most young people approve of requiring people to produce documents verifying their legal status; 61% approve of this element of the law while 35% disapprove. Larger percentages of older age groups support this provision.

Most Disapprove of Obama on Immigration

{snip} Just 25% approve of the way Obama is handling the issue, while more than twice as many (54%) disapprove. That is {snip} down slightly from last November (31%).

In the current survey, 76% of Republicans disapprove of Obama’s handling of immigration policy, while just 8% approve. Independents disapprove of Obama’s job on the issue by more than two-to-one (57% to 25%). Even among Democrats, as many disapprove (38%) as approve (37%) of the way he is handling the issue, while a quarter (25%) offer no opinion.

About the Survey

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