Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

Democrats Say Immigrants Grow the Economy, Republicans are Skeptical


According to the latest Reason-Rupe poll, a majority of Democrats (51 percent) say immigrants help grow the US economy, whereas a majority of Republicans (53 percent) say immigrants harm the economy; Independents are evenly divided. Republicans are also more likely to say immigrants take jobs from native-born Americans (67 percent), 56 percent of Independents agree, compared to 42 percent of Democrats.

Not surprisingly, far more Democrats favor legal residency and path to citizenship (66 percent) for unauthorized immigrants than Republicans (41 percent). Independents side with Democrats in favor or residency and a citizenship pathway (55 percent).

Interestingly, Democrats and Republicans are equally supportive of maintaining the status quo for high-skilled and low-skilled visa annually distributed. In fact, neither Democrats nor Republicans reach a majority in favor of raising visa caps for high-skilled or low-skilled workers. This is surprising because Democrats support reform for unauthorized immigrants, but are less willing to support more open immigration policy for future immigrants who seek to enter the country legally.

Republicans who believe immigrants strengthen the economy are actually slightly more willing than like-minded Democrats to raise the cap on high-skilled visas (66 percent to 55 percent). Roughly half of both groups favor raising the cap for low-skilled visas.

Americans Who Agree On Immigration's Benefits Support Reform

After controlling for perceptions of immigration's economic impact, partisanship's influence on policy preferences diminishes substantially. If partisans assume immigrants strengthen the economy, strong majorities of both Republicans and Democrats support legal residency and a path to citizenship for unauthorized workers. In contrast, equal numbers (and pluralities) of Republicans and Democrats favor deportation if they say immigrants harm the economy. 

Read the full report here: Reason-Rupe Feb 2013 Full Immigration Findings

Nationwide telephone poll conducted February 21-25 2013 interviewed 1002 adults on both mobile (502) and landline (500) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.8%. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results found here. Full methodology can be found hereA full analysis of the poll's immigration results can be found here.