Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Utah Amnesty Poll results

May 2013 Opinions of UTAH Voters about Jobs & Immigration Policies


When the Gang Bill issues are presented in the context of jobs and unemployment, the state's voters overwhelmingly reject the solutions of the Gang Bill.

A significant minority of Utah voters feel at least some moral responsibility toward helping families that have a member who is in the country illegally.  But four of five Utah voters feel at least some moral responsibiltiy to protect American workers from having to compete with foreign workers.

Utah voters disagree 68% to 24% that we need more immigrant workers. The central aspect of the Senate bill is that it triples the number of work permits for foreign citizens in the first 10 years.

By 63% to 26%, they think full enforcement should come before consideration of work permits.  The Senate Judiciary Committee repeatedly voted down amendments to put enforcement first in the bill.

General Attitudes:  The attitude toward the general scope of the Gang Bill as found in this poll may seem quite different from many media polls which have found substantial (although recently slipping) public support.  The key reason for the differences is likely found in the fact that the media polls focus on "legalizing"  or "normalizing" the status of the illegal population while including some punitive-sounding language, and often with the only alternative offered being mass deportation; those polls rarely if ever mention immigration as having any relationship to employment issues or as involving work permits.  And the media polls tend not to reflect the key principle of the Gang Bill that the U.S. needs a lot more immigrant workers.

This poll uses neutral language throughout and attempts to offer clear and simple questions and choices.  But it does present the choices on immigration in the context of the current unemployment situation, which is the way the public will hear the debate as it heats up toward a Senate floor vote -- and the way some candidates in the next election may frame the votes.  The key Senate spokesmen against the bill are focusing on the unemployment context in their public statements.  This poll is especially helpful in measuring how the public is likely to hear arguments against the bill based on jobs issues.


Many Senators who are on the fence may want to express some openness toward legalizing some illegal immigrants but will vote against the bill if they find it doesn't do enough to ensure that a large illegal population can't form here again and if the amnesty includes too broad of a group of current illegal aliens.

Question 11 gives people a choice of doing it the Gang Bill way, which is giving out work permits at the beginning and then implementing border and workplace enforcement over the next 10 years. There are many reasons to doubt that the language of the bill guarantees full enforcement even at the end of 10 years; but worded as if the enforcement will happen, the question found 63% of the state's voters oppose the bill's sequence of work permits first and enforcement later, with 26% supporting it.

The 63% of state voters in this poll wanting full implementation before "considering" giving work permits is in line with a late-April poll by Fox News which has been notorious the last few months for polls worded in a way to show support for an amnesty.  But this Fox poll also found 68% nationally wanted border security measures to be completed before changes to immigration policies

We believe the central issue of the Gang Bill is that it would give out 33 million lifetime work permits to both illegal and legal immigrants over the first decade alone. That number, however, is not in the poll.  

But Question 3 asks about the much lower figure of 7 million work permits to illegal immigrant workers.

While the media and many politicians focus on the requirements for getting on the "path to citizenship,"  the amnesty begins almost immediately after passage of the bill with the issuance of work permits.

The passion among voters is 2.5-to--1 opposed to those work permits  (35% strongly opposed vs. 14% strongly supporting).

All national polling finds that the No. 1 concern of voters is about putting Americans back to work in a stronger economy.  The results of this poll are a strong sign that the voters of this state don't find giving work permits to illegal aliens (the central action in the Gang Bill) to be compatible with the highest interest of the public in putting Americans back to work.

Question 4 asks those supporting work permits to choose how many of the illegal immigrants whould get the permits.  Only 17% of the pro-permits voters chose the "nearly all" contained in the bill.  And about a third of the pro-permit voters would give the work permits to only "some" of the illegal immigrants.

These poll responses indicate that a Senator would have a huge public backing for rejecting the Gang Bill merely for giving out the work permits too broadly and before the full -- or any -- implementation of enforcement to stop illegal immigration in the future.


The numbers of lifetime work permits in the first decade after the bill are staggering, although this poll did not inform the respondents of the 33 million figure.  Several of the proponents of the Gang Bill justify the increases by saying that the U.S. is suffering from various shortages of workers in high skills and in low skills like construction, hospitality, service, etc.  Many of them claim that low-skilled and less-educated foreign workers don't compete for the same occupations as the 10 million less-educated Americans who want a full-time job but can't find one.

This poll suggests that a politician making those arguments in this state would be driving voters away.

By 68% to 22%, the state's voters believe that less-educated illegal immigrants compete with less-educated Americans for jobs.

Only 24% of the voters think there are labor shortages that need the solution of more immigrant workers.

And only 13% of the state's voters think the 1 million green cards given out to new legal immigrants each year is too low.

The first decade after the Gang Bill would see 33 million lifetime work permits which is:
  • 3 times higher than number of work permits per decade since 1990
  • 10 times higher than the number per decade in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
Any politican trying to defend such massive increases in foreign workers during this time of high unemployment would be met by disbelief, if not anger, from the voters.


Only 13% of the state's voters feel "a lot" of moral responsibility to "help protect the ability of current illegal immigrants to hold a job and support their families without fear of deportation."  And 29% feel "some" moral responsibility.

However, when the needs of the foreign citizens who are here illegally are stacked against the needs of members of their own national community, the state's voters clearly think the priority is American workers.

79% of voters say Congress has "a lot" or "some" moral responsibility to "help protect unemployed or low-wage Americans from having to compete with foreign workers for U.S. jobs.


Republican crosstabs show tiny support for main Gang Bill principles: 
  • Only 30% of Republicans support giving work permits to illegal aliens.  Passion is 7-1 (42% strongly oppose to 6% strongly favor).
  • Only 18% of Republicans believe U.S. has a labor shortage that needs more immigrants.
  • Only 8% of Republicans think the current 1 million green cards a year is too low  (the Gang Bill triples the average number the first decade).
  • Only 17% of Republicans think work permits should be given before all enforcement is implemented.
Passion of state's Independents is much like Republicans:
  • Independents are 12% strongly for work permits for illegal aliens and 35% strongly opposed
  • Independents are 3% strongly agreed with a labor shortage needing more foreign workers and 36% strongly opposed
  • Independents are 61% to 29% in favor of fully implemented enforcement before "considering" work permits for illegal aliens

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