Post-Arizona, Checking on Attitudes About Immigrants

Enactment of an Arizona law aimed at stemming illegal immigration has sparked national controversy, with opponents talking up a boycott of the state’s business interests. Is the law a telltale sign of raging anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S.? A CBS News/New York Times poll (fielded since the measure’s passage last month) gives reason to think not.

As you can see from the chart, respondents were more apt to have a positive than a negative view of “recent immigrants” (the query didn’t specify legal status). And while 31 percent said the current level of “legal immigration” should be cut, 44 percent said it should stay as is and 17 percent said it should be increased. Asked about “illegal immigration,” though, 74 percent said it does more to weaken than strengthen the U.S. economy. As for Arizona’s law (which, in some circumstances, empowers police to ask for proof of legal status), 36 percent said it “goes too far.” But 51 percent said “it’s about right,” and 9 percent said it “doesn’t go far enough.”

Meanwhile, a Rasmussen Reports poll detects inter-ethnic strains. Asked if “relations between white Americans and Hispanics [are] getting better or worse,” 49 percent of respondents said “worse,” vs. 28 percent “better” and 17 percent “neither,” with the rest unsure. While 19 percent said “relations between black Americans and Hispanics” are improving, 37 percent said they’re worsening.

Publish date: May 10, 2010 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT