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University of Iowa News Release

 

Sept. 4, 2007

Hawkeye Poll: immigration increasingly important to Iowa voters

As presidential candidates fight for their party's nomination in the Iowa battlefield, immigration is becoming an increasingly important issue to the state's voters, results from the latest University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll show.

UI political scientists conducted statewide polls in March and August. The percentage of independents who consider immigration a "very important" issue jumped to 47 percent -- up 11.4 percent in five months. Immigration is now very important to 43.1 percent of Democrats (up 3.7 percent) and 58.2 percent of Republicans (up 3.1 percent).

The Hawkeye Poll also showed that Iowans' views on immigration have become increasingly polarized, that women are more likely than men to support earned citizenship and that most voters blame employers for immigration issues.

The statewide random poll, conducted July 29 to Aug. 5, included two samples: 907 registered voters and 787 likely caucus goers. The margin of error is +/- 3 percent for the full registered voter sample and 3.5 percent for the likely caucus goer sample. Topline (data-only) results and methodology are available at http://www.uiowa.edu/election, as are full results of the March poll for comparison.

Directed by David Redlawsk, associate professor of political science in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, The Hawkeye Poll was carried out with the cooperation and facilities of the UI Social Science Research Center. UI graduate students James Rydberg and Howard Sanborn, and undergraduate Brigid Feymuller collaborated on the poll.

Polarization increases since March

"Earned citizenship remains the most preferred government policy among Iowa voters, as it was in March, but preferences have become more polarized," Redlawsk said. "Republicans and independents are now less likely to support earned citizenship, while Democrats are trending in the opposite direction."

Nearly 5 percent more Democrats preferred earned citizenship in August than in March, but 1.7 percent fewer Republicans and 10.4 percent fewer Independents favored that option. Likewise, a policy to deport all undocumented immigrants was preferred by 5 percent fewer Democrats, but 14 percent more independents. There was an insignificant decrease of 1.3 percent fewer Republicans supporting deportation.

A majority of independents still favor comprehensive immigration reform -- allowing undocumented immigrants to eventually become U.S. citizens if they meet certain criteria, like learning English and paying back taxes -- but that group shrunk to about 57 percent, down about 10 percent since March. About 15 percent more independents now favor mass deportation. Democrats are now slightly more in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, while Republicans are now slightly less in favor of it.

Likely caucus goers are even more polarized than registered voters on immigration. Earned citizenship is preferred by 61.8 percent of registered Democrats and 55 percent of registered Republicans, compared to 65.7 percent of likely Democratic caucus goers and 49.2 percent of likely Republican caucus goers. When shifting the comparison from registered voters to likely caucus goers, the gap between Democrats and Republicans who prefer earned citizenship grows by almost 10 percent.

A similar gap exists with the deportation option. Deportation is preferred by 17.3 percent of registered Democrats and 22.3 percent of registered Republicans, compared to 14.6 percent of likely Democratic caucus goers and 28 percent of likely Republican caucus goers. When shifting the comparison from registered voters to likely caucus goers, the gap between Republican and Democrats who prefer deportation grows by 8.6 percent.

Women more likely to support earned citizenship

Among likely caucus goers, women are more likely than men to prefer earned citizenship (women 63.2 percent, men 50.5 percent ). Women are also less likely than men to favor deportation (women 18.3 percent, men 27.4 percent).

Democratic women are the most supportive of earned citizenship, while Republican women are the most likely to support deportation. Democratic women are most likely to support earned citizenship (71.2 percent), followed by Democratic men (56 percent), Republican men (49.6 percent) and Republican women (48.7 percent). Deportation is supported by 13.2 percent of Democratic women, 17.2 percent of Democratic men, 24.4 percent of Republican men and 32.2 percent of Republican women. Allowing undocumented immigrants to become permanent residents with no requirements is supported by 5.4 percent of Democratic women, 4.3 percent of Democratic men, 1.6 percent of Republican men and no Republican women.

Most voters blame employers for immigration issues

The August Hawkeye Poll includes a question designed to assess who people blame most for the current immigration situation. That question wasn't asked in March.

Within both parties, the largest group of voters -- nearly half of all registered voters -- holds employers who hire undocumented immigrants responsible. Roughly 24 percent blame "policies established by the federal government" while only 18 percent blame the immigrants.

Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to blame employers (Democrats 54.8 percent, Republicans 40.6 percent). Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to blame the immigrants (Republicans 23.3 percent, Democrats 14.4 percent). Women are slightly more likely than men to blame the immigrants.

Compared to the full sample of registered voters, likely caucus goers of both parties are slightly more likely to blame employers. They are less likely than those not planning to caucus to blame undocumented immigrants. Within the likely caucus goer sample, there is no significant difference between men's and women's views.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Caroline Tolbert, UI Department of Political Science and UI Hawkeye Poll, 319-335-2358, caroline-tolbert@uiowa.edu; Nicole Riehl, UI News Services, 319-384-0070, nicole-riehl@uiowa.edu