July 29, 2010
Support for the building of a fence along the Mexican border has reached a new high, and voters are more confident than ever that illegal immigration can be stopped.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 68% of U.S. voters now believe the United States should continue to build a fence on the Mexican border. That’s up nine points from March when the Obama administration halted funding for the fence and the highest level of support ever.
Just 21% oppose the continued building of the border fence.
Support for the fence is strong across all demographic groups. But while 76% of Mainstream voters think the United States should continue to build the fence, 67% of the Political Class are opposed to it.
Forty-seven percent (47%) of all voters believe it is possible to end illegal immigration. That’s up slightly from April of last year.
Now only 36% do not think it is possible for the United States to prevent illegal immigrants from getting into the country. That’s down sixteen points since October 2008.
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The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on July 24-25, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Illegal immigration, always a concern to many voters, has taken on increased visibility due to the controversy over Arizona’s new immigration law. The state law went into effect today, but a federal judge has put several of its more controversial provisions on hold until a Justice Department legal challenge of the law is resolved.
Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters nationwide oppose the Justice Department’s decision to challenge the Arizona law, and 61% favor passage of a law like Arizona’s in their own state.
Fifty-four percent (54%) say the Justice Department instead should take legal action against cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Even more think the federal government should cut off funds to these “sanctuary cities.”
Most voters ages 40 and older say it is possible for the United States to end illegal immigration. Republicans by better than two-to-one are more confident than Democrats that it’s possible. Voters not affiliated with either party are more closely divided on the question.
Most members of the Political Class, however, say it can’t be done. Fifty-six percent (56%) of Mainstream voters say it is possible to stop illegal immigration, but 58% of the Political Class disagree.
Sixty-eight percent (68%) of voters say the Political Class doesn’t care what most Americans think anyway.
The number of voters who view the issue of immigration as Very Important has jumped 16 points from last month to its highest level ever, although it still ranks fifth on a list of 10 issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports.
In December 2008, just after President-elect Obama put Janet Napolitano, an opponent of the border fence, in charge of immigration activities, 74% of voters said the federal government was not doing enough to stop illegal immigration.
Sixty-four percent (64%) of voters believe the federal government by failing to enforce immigration law is more to blame for the current controversy over Arizona’s new statute than state officials are for passing it.
In fact, by a two-to-one margin, voters believe the policies of the federal government encourage people to enter the United States illegally.
Voters also have said consistently for years that when it comes to immigration reform, gaining control of the border is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in the United States.
Still, 58% favor a welcoming immigration policy that excludes only national security threats, criminals and those who come here to live off the U.S. welfare system.
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