California Voters Sharply Disagree on Low-Cost Healthcare for Immigrants

Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times, September 15, 2015

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California voters are sharply divided over whether free or low-cost health insurance should be granted to those who reside in the state without legal status, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll

The poll found that about 48% of voters believed that immigrants who live here illegally should be eligible to receive free or low-cost health insurance through Medi-Cal or a similar program. A statistically equal 47% said the group should not be eligible, while about 6% said they didn’t know or refused to answer the question.

Backing for the benefit is split along ethnic lines, with 69% of Latino voters but only 39% of white voters responding that the group should be eligible. And it had an ideological cast as well: 68% of Democrats supported eligibility, yet only 19% of Republicans agreed.

Opposition was most passionate among supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, 90% of whom opposed eligibility. Opposition among backers of other candidates ranked substantially lower.

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A couple of years ago, there was also a wide gap on a similar poll that asked whether immigrants without legal status should be allowed to obtain driver’s licenses. Nearly 69% of Latino voters but only 44% of whites supported the new driving privilege law, which had already gone into effect.

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