While proponents of immigration reform are bracing for a tough fight this summer, most have remained generally optimistic that the political climate is finally right for the passage of a comprehensive bill.
The American electorate as a whole? Not so much.
A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows that seven in ten registered voters think that Republicans and Democrats in Congress will not be able to work together to pass an immigration bill this year.
Hispanics and Democrats are slightly more optimistic, with about a third of each group saying that the bill will get to the president’s desk. But only 24 percent of voters overall said they believe that Congress can pass the legislation.
But while voters are pessimistic about its passage, the poll also showed that a majority supports the compromise bill’s foundational principle of a “path to citizenship.” Fifty-four percent said undocumented immigrants living in the United States should be able to remain in the country and eventually apply for U.S. citizenship. Twelve percent said undocumented individuals should be able to stay but should not be eligible to become citizens; 29 percent believe undocumented immigrants should not be able to stay in the U.S. at all.
A bipartisan bill passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month by a 13-5 vote and will be taken up on the Senate floor in June. But the fate of various immigration measures in the Republican-controlled House is still unclear.
Voters overall in the Quinnipiac poll were evenly divided on the question of whether a candidate’s support for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would make them more or less likely to support him or her, while 44 percent of voters said the candidate’s position would not affect their support. But nearly half of Hispanics said a candidate’s support for a path to citizenship would make them more likely to support that candidate.
The poll surveyed 1,419 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points.
This story was originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 10:33 AM EDT