By Glynn Wilson –
While a slim majority of Americans, 51 percent, say they disapprove of President Barack Obama’s executive action to deal with undocumented immigrants living in the United States, Hispanics, African-Americans and other recent immigrants by a wide margin approve of the policy plan to grant legal status to those who have been in the country five years or longer.
Nearly 65 percent of Hispanics, a growing voting bloc in the U.S., approve of the president’s plan he outlined in a nationally televised address last month. The president intends to grant legal resident status to undocumented immigrants who have been in the country five years or longer and have no criminal record and have children born in the U.S.
The president’s actions on immigration will likely help him and the Democrats politically with the growing Hispanic population in the U.S., according to Gallup, since Hispanics favor the proposal by a better than 2-to-1 margin. Support is higher among Hispanics who migrated to the U.S. (75 percent) than among Hispanics who were born in this country (51 percent), but both groups show greater approval than disapproval.
“Those of all racial and ethnic backgrounds who were born outside the U.S. are far more supportive of Mr. Obama’s proposed actions than those born in the country,” Gallup says.
The biggest divide in opinions on the president’s immigration actions is political, according to Gallup. While 70 percent of Democrats approve of the actions, 85 percent of Republicans disapprove. Independents also show greater disapproval than approval.
Recent polls conducted by other organizations since the president’s speech, as well as past polls by Gallup, show Americans favor plans to allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country if they meet certain requirements instead of deporting them.
According to Gallup, public opposition to the president’s policy may have as much to do with his use of the executive order rather than the legislative process, “or simply political opposition to Obama and his agenda more generally.”
Roughly two-thirds of Americans say they are following news about Obama’s immigration actions closely, with relatively little variation in attention paid by race.
Mr. Obama made clear in his address to the nation that he believes he has the legal authority to use an executive order to address the status of illegal immigrants living in the U.S.
Many Americans seem to disagree, however, and his actions are already facing challenges. The Republican-led House of Representatives last week passed a bill to block Mr. Obama’s plan, and 17 states are joining a legal challenge to the president’s proposal.
“The Gallup data clearly underscore the divisiveness of (Mr.) Obama’s actions, both politically and along racial and ethnic lines,” Gallup concludes. “However, the groups most opposed to what Obama is doing are also the groups least likely to support him.”
Even with the overall negative reaction to his immigration plan, according to Gallup his job approval rating has held fairly steady since he announced it.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 24-Dec. 7, 2014, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 6,084 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. For results based on the total sample of 4,539 non-Hispanic whites, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.
© 2014, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.