New poll shows shift in Californian public attitudes toward illegal immigrants

16:18, April 05, 2010      

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In a departure from voter attitudes in the past, Californian voters are much more conflicted about whether to deny taxpayer-supported social services to illegal immigrants, according to a new poll published on Sunday.

The poll results reveal important shifts in public attitudes toward illegal immigrants in California, a bellwether U.S. state for the debate over immigration policy.

Among registered voters, more than 47 percent oppose proposals to deny social services such as public schooling and emergency room care to illegal immigrants, while 45 percent support the proposals, the poll showed.

A majority of Democratic voters (55 percent) and decline-to- state voters (53 percent) would not deny illegal immigrants social services, compared to 31 percent of Republican voters. In support of denying illegal immigrants social services are 37 percent of Democrats, 40 percent of decline-to-state voters and 61 percent of Republicans.

However, among Republican voters, more oppose denying undocumented immigrants access to taxpayer-funded social services (31 percent) than oppose creating a path to citizenship (29 percent). Seventy-five percent of Republicans favor temporary worker programs and 65 percent of Republicans favor creating a path to legalization, according to the poll.

Of the three immigration policy options provided in the poll, all of which included stronger border enforcement, denying undocumented immigrants social services was the least popular option for Democratic voters and independent voters. About two- thirds of both Democratic voters and decline-to-state voters support temporary worker programs and creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Overall, almost 70 percent of registered voters support temporary worker programs that do not grant legal citizenship; 67 percent support a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants that includes learning English and paying fines and back taxes; and 45 percent support prohibiting illegal immigrants from using social services.

The poll, conducted by the University of Southern California ( USC) College of Letters, Arts & Sciences and the Los Angeles Times, is the largest statewide sample of registered voters in California this year.

Source: Xinhua


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