June 22, 2006
Tamar Jacoby, Manhattan Institute
Poll: GOP Voters Want Immigration Solutions This Year;
Broad Approach to Reform Preferred
Leaders Selling Public Short with Hard-Line Approach
Washington, DC - An overwhelming majority of registered, likely
Republican voters support a broad approach to immigration reform that
includes providing legal status to immigrants in the country illegally,
even while many of them also consider this approach "amnesty."
Republican voters also are more likely to support candidates who support
immigration reform that combines border and workplace enforcement with
a multi-step path to legalization for undocumented immigrants who learn
English, pay fines, and taxes. Significantly, an overwhelming majority
feel that it is very important for the Congress to solve the problem of
illegal immigration this year.
These are among the findings of a new poll, commissioned by the free
market think-tank, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, and conducted
among 800 Republican likely voters by the Republican polling firm, The
Tarrance Group, June 12-15, 2006.
Results from the poll and a discussion of their implications will be
the topic of a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington,
which can be accessed by telephone for those unable to join in person
(an Internet link to the data presentation is also available, see below).
WHAT: Press Conference to Release Polling Results
WHEN: Thursday, June 22, 2006; 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time
WHO: Brian Nienaber, Vice President, The Tarrance Group
Tamar Jacoby, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute
WHERE: Zenger Room, National Press Club
529 Fourteenth Street (14th &F), NW, 13th Floor
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Reporters unable to be present at the National Press Club may listen
in to the press conference and ask questions via conference call.
Dial: 1 (888) 793-1753
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Subject: Immigration Polling Press Conference
Date and Time: June 22nd, 1:30 pm ET
Meeting ID: 6QGJ5C
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# # #
June 22, 2006
To: Interested Parties
From: Ed Goeas and Brian Nienaber
Subject: Key findings from a nationwide survey of registered
likely Republican voters
The four (4) major findings from this data are:
- Likely Republican voters want a solution to the problem of illegal
- While likely Republican voters strongly support border enforcement,
there is more support for a comprehensive immigration reform plan that
provides current illegal immigrants with an opportunity for earned citizenship.
- The charge of amnesty is not as powerful a weapon against immigration
reform proposals as conventional wisdom suggests.
- Support is much stronger among likely Republican voters for a comprehensive
approach to immigration reform than an enforcement with guest workers
Desire for a Solution
- While likely Republican voters are remarkably positive about the direction
of the country (52% right track), the issue of immigration is clearly
one of their top concerns. On an issue matrix about determining their
vote for Congress, "illegal immigration" (15%) is the second
most selected issue behind only "terrorism and national security"
(20%) and is tied with "moral values" (15%).
- In addition, 71% of likely Republican voters describe illegal immigration
as an extremely (37%) or very (34%) serious problem. A plurality (42%)
of likely Republican voters select "concerned" as the emotion
that best describes how they feel about the current immigration situation.
- These attitudes lead 72% of likely Republican voters to select that
it is extremely (40%) or very (32%) important that Congress solve the
problem of illegal immigration this year.
Strong Support for Enforcement and Strong Support for Earned Legalization
- Likely Republican voters are presented with a variety of proposals
for dealing with the 12 million illegal immigrants currently living in
the United States.
- While 82% of likely GOP voters support tightening the borders
and tougher penalties on illegal immigrants and on employers who hire
illegal immigrants, 80% of likely Republican voters support an earned
legalization program in which illegal immigrants can earn legal status
and eventual citizenship by working, paying taxes, learning English, and
waiting behind those already waiting to emigrate to the United States.
- Regarding a proposal to deal with the 12 million illegal immigrants
by deporting them by any means necessary, a strong majority (68%) of likely
GOP voters oppose this proposal.
- In addition, 85% of likely Republican voters believe it is not
realistic to deport 12 million illegal immigrants.
- Regarding a proposal to deal with the 12 million illegal immigrants
through a policy of attrition, a majority (50%) of likely GOP voters oppose
- In addition, 76% of likely GOP voters believe that illegal immigrants
would not return home if an attrition policy was implemented.
- In fact, a comprehensive approach to immigration that includes
earned legalization is supported by 75% of likely GOP voters while an
approach that includes only tougher enforcement and a guest workers plan
is supported by just 47% of likely GOP voters.
The "Amnesty" Charge Not As Negative As Conventional Wisdom
- On the issue of amnesty, 48% of likely GOP voters do not believe
the comprehensive reform like the one passed by the Senate is amnesty
while 39% do believe it is amnesty.
- Among those likely GOP voters who believe this legislation is
amnesty, 62% support its passage. In addition, 50% of likely Republican
voters who believe this legislation is amnesty are more likely to support
a candidate who supports this legislation.
- For an enforcement with guest workers plan, 70% of likely GOP
voters do not believe this plan is amnesty while 18% do believe it is
- Among those likely GOP voters who believe this type of plan is
amnesty, 49% support its passage. In addition, 48% of those likely GOP
voters who believe this plan is amnesty are more likely to support a candidate
who supports this legislation.
- Given the choice between doing nothing about illegal immigration
and doing something that they believe contains amnesty, a majority (53%)
of likely Republican voters would rather do something.
Stronger Support for Comprehensive Approach to Immigration Reform
- Fully 75% of likely Republican voters support passage of a comprehensive
immigration reform plan that contains the following elements:
- Provide resources to greatly increase border security,
- Impose much tougher penalties on employers who hire illegal workers,
- Allow additional foreign workers to come to the United States to
work for a temporary period,
- Create a system in which illegal immigrants could come forward
and register, pay a fine, and receive a temporary worker permit,
- Provide these temporary workers with a multi-year path to earned
citizenship, if they get to the end of the line and meet certain requirements
like living crime free, learning English, paying taxes.
- Support for this plan is strong even among base Republican voter
demographics like strong Republicans (77%), very conservative Republicans
(72%), white conservative Christians (76%), and those who listen to news
talk radio on a daily basis (72%).
- A strong majority (60%) of likely Republican voters say they would
be more likely to support a candidate who supports this type of plan.
- Only 17% of likely Republican voters oppose this plan and 8% are
- In contrast, support among likely Republican voters for an enforcement
with guest workers plan stands at only 47%. This plan is described as
- Tighten the borders,
- Put tougher penalties on employers and workers who violate immigration
- Create and expanded guest worker program that allows people to
work her only temporarily, and
- Most current illegal immigration would never be eligible for citizenship.
- There is not a notable increase in support for this plan among
base Republican voter demographics like strong Republicans (47%), very
conservative Republicans (51%), white conservative Christians (50%), and
those who listen to news talk radio on a daily basis (51%).
- Only 46% of likely Republican voters say they would be more likely
to support a candidate who supports this type of plan.
- Forty-six percent (46%) of likely Republican oppose this plan
and 7% are unsure.