Reuters poll: Majority of Americans want most illegal immigrants deported

Interesting. But dubious.

Thirty percent of those polled think that most illegal immigrants, with some exceptions, should be deported, while 23 percent believe all illegal immigrants should be deported.

Only 5 percent believe all illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the United States legally, and 31 percent want most illegal immigrants to stay…

“It’s not Americans’ views that are shifting. It is that the political climate is ripe for this discussion,” after the November election when Hispanics voted overwhelmingly in favor of Democratic President Barack Obama, she said…

Attitudes toward immigration are polarized by party, according to another the Reuters/Ipsos poll. Seventy-five percent of Republicans think all or most immigrants should be deported, compared to 40 percent of Democrats who think the same.

That’s mighty compelling evidence that McCain, Rubio, et al. have badly overreached in pushing earned amnesty. So why is it dubious? Because, per Polling Report, it contradicts every other major poll taken over the past six weeks. Let’s run the numbers. First, from mid-January, the AP:


Note the trend. Next, a few days later, CNN:

By a 53%-43% margin, people questioned in the poll say that main focus of the federal government should be on developing a plan that would allow undocumented immigrants to become legal residents, rather than deporting them.

That’s a switch from 2011, when by a 55%-42% margin, Americans said that deporting undocumented residents and stopping more of them from coming into the country should be the main focus of U.S policy on illegal immigration.

Again, note the trend. Et tu, Fox News?

The poll asked voters what government policy should be toward illegal immigrants currently in the U.S. Two thirds — 66 percent — think there should be a path to citizenship, but only if the individual meets requirements such as paying back taxes, learning English and passing a background check.

Some 17 percent say all illegal immigrants should be deported, and another 13 percent prefer a guest worker program that would allow immigrants to remain in the U.S. to work, but only for a limited time.

How about some Gallup for you?


Not convincing? Let’s try ABC:


You’ve got a majority of Republicans opposed to a path to citizenship in that one but the overall number is what it is. Next comes Quinnipiac:


That’s a reversal from ABC: Now you’ve got a majority of Republicans saying illegals should be allowed to stay. Onward we go to CBS:


The five-year trend there is dramatic. And now, just this morning, is this from Pew:


That’s more ambiguous but you’ve got 53 percent of Republicans here saying that a path to citizenship is at least as important as better border security.

Proof positive that Reuters has an outlier on its hands? That’s how I’d bet if I was betting, but there’s always a chance that they’re catching the very beginning of a backlash with today’s data. Could be that Republicans and independents were more sanguine about illegal immigration after the election, before there were any concrete proposals floating around in Congress. Now that they’ve had a hard look at the McCain/Rubio plan and O’s substantially similar counter-proposal, opposition’s beginning to build. (There’s reason to believe that Obama’s involvement in the process might erode support among Republican voters.) Although, in that case, one question: Why haven’t any of the other polls picked up on this nascent backlash, including Pew’s new one? Every one of these surveys was conducted after the bipartisan Senate plan was formally introduced. Unless there’s some very late-breaking resistance to this process developing due to last week’s White House leak, I’m not sure how to reconcile the results with Reuters’s data.