Wednesday, March 10, 2004

MTSU poll reports local opinions about immigrants

"Respondents are again divided in their perceptions of whether immigrants take desirable jobs away from Americans, with 47% on both sides. For those with high school diplomas or less, 65% feel that immigrants take desirable jobs, compared to only 36% with higher education levels."

"However, when respondents were asked whether they personally had lost a job to an immigrant, a small 5% said yes, and 91% said no. Nearly one in ten (9%) with high school educations or less said they had lost such a job, compared to only 2% of those with more education."

"A firm majority (56%) opposes President Bushs plan to provide work permits to allow illegal immigrants to work in the United States legally. Men (61%), in particular, opposed the plan, compared with 51% of women."

"Unexpectedly, Bush's work permit proposal fared worse among a random half of respondents who were asked about permits for undocumented immigrants than among the other half, who were asked instead about illegal immigrants. Fully 71% opposed permits for undocumented immigrants. The phrase undocumented tends to be preferred by immigrant-advocacy groups. Further research will be necessary to see just why undocumented generated a more negative response from Tennesseans."

"A heavy majority (61%) of Tennesseans believes that the president proposed the work-permit plan to aid his re-election bid. This opinion is particularly pronounced among Democrats (80%) and Independents (55%), though 41% of Republicans and others agree."

"Asked whether Bush proposed the plan to aid the economy - which some say benefits from less-inexpensive immigrant labor - Tennesseans were split 42% yes and 42% no. Republicans and Independents (47%) opted for the economic-benefit explanation, while 35% of Democrats and others agreed."

"Fully 59% of Tennesseans oppose giving health care to undocumented workers, with whites (63%) leading blacks (40%) in opposition. Regarding access to education, the split is close, with 46% favoring and 49% opposing. Fully 75% say it is easier to get into the United States than other countries."

"More than two-thirds (65%) say they know immigrants personally, with those with at least some college more likely (75%) to answer yes than those with a high school education or less (51%). And 57% say they have immigrant friends. A majority (53%) says they would approve of a family members marrying an immigrant."

The Tennessean

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