Two New Polls Show Continued U.S. Support for Immigration Reform

Whatever the voters who ousted House Majority Leader Eric Cantor think of immigration reform, a couple of significant polls show many Americans, including conservative Republicans, support it.

Results of a poll issued Wednesday by the American Action Forum, a center-right group, showed about 4 out of 5 GOP primary voters, 78 percent, support a step-by-step approach to immigration reform.

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That’s the approach the House has said it prefers, although it hasn’t taken any action beyond passing a handful of separate bills through committees.

Cantor lost his GOP primary race Tuesday night, and plans to step down from his House leadership job this summer, to a candidate who said he opposes "amnesty" for people here illegally. Cantor had worked on immigration reform but had been considered a block to getting legislation through the House.

The American Action Forum poll showed the step-by-step approach even won support from frequent talk radio listeners, 72 percent to 23 percent, and strong Tea Party supporters, 70 percent to 28 percent.

Also, the primary voters supported allowing immigrants here illegally to earn legal status, 56 percent to 36 percent, but narrowly opposed allowing them to earn citizenship, 48 percent to 44 percent.

Results of a poll released Tuesday by Public Religion Research Institute, a non-partisan group, and the center left-leaning Brookings Institution found 62 percent of Americans support earned citizenship, 17 percent support granting people illegally in the U.S. a way to earn legal permanent residency and 19 percent want them deported.

The support for earned citizenship was virtually unchanged from a year ago. The poll was a call-back survey of the same participants whom PRRI and Brookings surveyed a year ago on the same question.

The American Action Forum poll was done by North Star Opinion Research, which surveyed 1,000 past Republican primary voters, by cell and landline phones June 2-5. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percent.

Interviews for the PRRI/Brookings survey were done in English and Spanish and supervised by Princeton Survey Associates. A random sample of 1,538 adults who had participated in a similar 2013 survey were interviewed by phone. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.3 percent.