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Anti Illegal Immigration Sentiment Strong in Minnesota, though Weaker than Most of the Nation

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Arizona immigration law enjoys majority support in Minnesota, though lower than most states

While public opinion polling has shown consistent, majority support across the country for both the specifics of Arizona's new law to combat illegal immigration as well as the general legal principals behind it, that support varies substantially from state to state from extremely supportive to only moderately supportive.

Minnesota seems to fit into the latter category, according to recent polling.

The Rasmussen polling organization has conducted interviews of 500 likely voters in each of 16 states over the past three weeks with a small array of questions on illegal immigration issues.

Of the 16 states polled, Minnesota ranks next to last in terms of how closely its residents are following the Arizona immigration news story, fourth to last in terms of favoring passage of a similar law in the Gopher State, and second to last in terms of support for the legal principal behind the Arizona law.

Over the past three weeks, Rasmussen has polled residents from the southern (Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky), Midwestern (Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin), northeastern (Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island), and western (Oregon, Washington) regions of the country on illegal immigration.

When asked how closely residents have been following news stories about Arizona's immigration law, 45 percent replied "very closely" in Minnesota, which was the second lowest among those states surveyed and seven points below the 52 percent average across the 16-state sample.

Perhaps due to the potential greater geographical impact of the law and proximity to Arizona, the west coast states (both surveyed the same week as Minnesota) have been following the story much more closely, with Oregon at 65 percent and Washington at 63 percent.

Midwestern states were at the bottom of the list in terms of the percentage following the story very closely with Wisconsin at 50 percent, Missouri, Indiana, and Ohio at 47 percent, Minnesota at 45 percent, and North Dakota at 42 percent.

In terms of support for adopting passage of Arizona's immigration law in its own state, 53 percent of Minnesotans favored such a law, with just 34 percent opposed.

Still, that support was higher than only three deep blue states of those 16 surveyed to date: Connecticut (48 percent), Rhode Island (50 percent), and Washington (52 percent).

The highest level of support for adopting the Arizona measure in their own state came from residents in the southern states of Arkansas and Kentucky (63 percent each).

When asked about the general legal principal behind the Arizona law, Minnesotans were much more supportive: 62 percent stated an officer should be required to check the immigration status of someone suspected of being an illegal immigrant if already stopped for a traffic violation or other violation of the law. Just 27 percent were opposed.

Still, despite more than 2:1 support for the measure, Minnesota ranked second lowest among the 16 states on support for this anti-illegal immigration legal principal, higher than only Washington (54 percent).

Overwhelming majorities of likely voters in Arkansas (81 percent), Alabama (79 percent), Kentucky (78 percent), North Dakota (75 percent), Missouri (74 percent), Indiana (72 percent), Georgia (72 percent), and Ohio (70 percent) were in favor of this more aggressive local police force role in the battle against illegal immigration.

An average of 69 percent were supportive of such a law across the 16 states, with just 21 percent opposed.

While support for these anti-illegal immigration measures is comparatively low in Minnesota compared to the rest of the country, Minnesotans have generally been in line with tough laws to control the nation's borders in recent years.

For example, a January 2006 Rasmussen poll found 59 percent of Minnesotans favored a barrier be built across the U.S. - Mexican border to help reduce illegal immigration, with just 26 percent opposed.

An April 2006 Rasmussen poll found that over half of Minnesotans (56 percent) were opposed to the legal principal that a child born in the USA from a female illegal immigrant should automatically become a citizen of the United States. Just 29 percent believed that child should automatically become a citizen.

That same poll also found less than half of Minnesotans (44 percent) opposed forcible deportation of 11+ million illegal aliens who were in the nation at that time. One-third (33 percent) supported such deportation, while about one-quarter (23 percent) were not sure.

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2 Comments


  • The irony is that for all the overexcited debate, the net effect of immigration is minimal (about a one tenth of 1 percent gain in GDP). Even for those most acutely affected—say, low-skilled workers, or California residents—the impact isn't all that dramatic. The shrill voices have tended to dominate our perceptions. But when all those factors are put together and the economists crunch the numbers, it ends up being a net positive, but a small one. Too bad most people don't realize it.

  • If anything is important in the discussion of U.S. Immigration, it's that we need a system in place that can help people come to the United States legally and avoid the issues that are currently a challenge to all involved.

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