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Bar graph of poll results. 83% support and 15% oppose stricter border control. 55% support and 41% oppose a path to citizenship. 49% approve and 43% disapprove of President Obama's handling of immigration.
President Obama got his strongest-ever approval rating on immigration in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, climbing to 49 percent approving vs. 43 percent disapproving; in July, just 38 percent approved while 52 percent approved. Support for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants was similarly in positive territory, pulling in 55 percent support to 41 percent opposition. And apparently 83 percent of people either don't know that there are more Border Patrol agents out there than ever before, or think that's still not enough, supporting stricter border control. Just 15 percent of people oppose stricter border control.

Obviously, there are some racial and partisan differences:

Specifically, 67 percent of Hispanics and 71 percent of nonwhites overall approve of Obama’s handling of immigration, compared with 38 percent of whites. And a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants is supported by 82 percent of Hispanics and 71 percent of all nonwhites, as well as by nearly seven in 10 Democrats and just over half of independents. It’s supported by fewer than half of whites, 47 percent; Republicans, 42 percent; and by just 37 percent of adults who describe themselves as very conservative politically.
There are a couple key numbers there for Republicans to consider as they try to find their way to the policy that will do the least harm electorally—one that won't hurt them with their base in the short term, make them look unpalatably extremist for general elections, or end their chance of competing among Latino voters for a generation. One, of course, is that 82 percent Latino support for a path to citizenship. But it's not just Latino voters—the support of 53 percent of self-identified moderates and 52 percent of independents for a path to citizenship should definitely be something Republicans consider carefully when they're deciding just how obstructionist they want to be on this.

Of course, House Republicans will doubtless be too concerned about the 61 percent of people identifying as very conservative—i.e. Republican primary voters—who oppose a path to citizenship.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:56 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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