SEPTEMBER 24-26, 2012
North Star Opinion Research was commissioned by the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation to conduct a national telephone survey of 800 registered voters on their views of immigration. Majorities of voters say that immigration is an economic benefit rather than an economic threat, think that creating a system for handling temporary guest workers will do more to strengthen our border than increasing border enforcement, and agree that “it is not possible to have absolute border control without a better system for handling guest workers.” Large majorities of voters support both the DREAM Act and the described Red Card proposal for guest workers as approaches to deal with illegal immigration.
Highlights from the survey are:
1. A majority of voters says illegal immigration is an economic benefit to the United States. Voters say illegal immigration is an economic benefit, rather than an economic threat, by a 55 to 33 percent margin.
2. By a double-digit margin, voters say “creating a system of handling temporary guest workers that would come here legally and then return home” will do more to strengthen the border than “increasing the presence of law enforcement officials along the border.” Voters say creating a guest worker program will do more to strengthen the border by a 52 to 35 percent margin.
3. Nearly three-quarters of voters agree that “it is not possible to have absolute border control without a better system for handling guest workers.” Underscoring the attitude that immigration is a net benefit and that a guest worker program would strengthen the border, voters say it is not possible to control the border without a guest worker program by a 73 to 16 percent margin, including a 71 to 18 percent margin among Republicans, a 72 to 19 percent margin among Independents, and a 77 to 14 percent margin among Democrats.
4. Voters support the Krieble Foundation’s Red Card proposal by a two-to-one margin.
Voters heard the following description of the Red Card proposal: ￼
The proposal would require all illegal immigrants currently living and working in the United States to leave the country. They could immediately apply for new TEMPORARY guest worker visas linking specific workers to specific jobs through private U.S. employment agencies licensed by the federal government. Each applicant would undergo an instant background check by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security before their temporary guest worker visa is granted.
Voters support the proposal by a 60 to 30 percent margin overall. Republicans support it by a 66 to 25 percent margin, compared to a 60 to 31 percent margin among Independents and a 54 to 35 percent margin among Democrats.
5. Wide margins of voters across party lines support the DREAM Act as well. Overall, voters support the DREAM Act, “which would allow children of undocumented immigrants who have grown up in America to attain legal residency status if they complete college or serve in the U.S. military,” by a 74 to 20 percent margin, including a 63 to 29 percent margin among Republicans, a 75 to 18 percent margin among Independents, and an 84 to 13 percent margin among Democrats.
6. Voters say a full solution to the immigration issue would go beyond the DREAM Act. By a 68 to 17 percent margin, voters agree that "the Dream Act only addresses the immigration problem for 10 percent of undocumented immigrants, so it is only a partial solution to our country's immigration problem." They also think that many young people who would qualify for the DREAM Act “will not come forward out of fear they would expose their parents as illegal immigrants” by a 73 to 17 percent margin. As a result, voters agree that “we will still need a solution to the guest worker problem in order to address the immigration issue for everyone” by an 80 to 11 percent margin.
Respondents were selected through random-digit-dialing, including cell phone numbers, and interviewed by live interviewers. All respondents confirmed that they are registered to vote in the county in which they live. The margin of error for responses with an even split – 50 percent for one response and 50 percent for another response – is plus or minus 3.46 percent. The margin of error is smaller when one response receives a higher level of support. For example, the margin of error is plus or minus 3.00 percent when 75 percent of respondents choose one response and 25 percent choose another response.North Star Opinion Research Survey Crosstabs