Most voters nationwide continue to believe government policies encourage illegal immigration and support using the military along the U.S.-Mexican border. But they remain divided as to whether the federal government or individual states should enforce immigration laws.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows that 59% believe the policies and practices of the federal government encourage illegal immigration. Just 23% disagree while another 18% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
The number of voters who believe the federal government's policies encourage people to enter the country illegally is virtually unchanged from May and is in line with findings since October 2009.
Majorities of Republicans (70%) and voters not affiliated with either party (61%) believe the government’s policies encourage illegal immigration, a view shared by 46% of Democrats.
Most Mainstream voters believe the government encourages illegal immigration, while 48% of Political Class voters say that is not the case.
Forty-seven percent (47%) believe the better approach to dealing with illegal immigration is relying on the federal government to enforce the law, but the same number (46%) says it is better to allow individual states to act on their own to enforce it.
Voters have been divided on the question for the past several surveys, but the number that thinks allowing states to enforce the law is the better approach is down nine points from last September when Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigration was in the news.
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The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on September 12-13, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
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