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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 05/14/2010

Ethnicity divides on Arizona immigration law

New polls - from the Associated Press and Univision and from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal - suggest that Hispanics and non-Hispanics are sharply divided on Arizona's new immigration law and on how the issue should be handled more broadly.

The results from the Associated Press and Univision, released Thursday, find that two-thirds of Hispanics oppose Arizona's law, 15 percent support it and 17 percent hold a neutral view. In a separate survey of all adults which asked the same question, 45 percent of non-Hispanics back the law, 20 percent oppose it and three in 10 neither favor nor oppose it. The NBC-WSJ poll found a similar dynamic, with adults overall far more supportive of the measure than Hispanics.

The surveys suggest that most Hispanics and non-Hispanics alike think the law will have an impact on Hispanics who are citizens or in the country legally. In the AP-Univision poll, 79 percent say it is at least somewhat likely that police in Arizona will wind up stopping Hispanics who are legal residents as they enforce the law, and two-thirds in the NBC-Journal poll said the law was likely to lead to discrimination against Hispanics here legally.

According to the AP-Univision data, Hispanics, who report paying closer attention to the Arizona immigration law (42 percent say they have heard or read "a lot" about it, twice the level among non-Hispanics), were also far more apt to say the U.S. government was doing all that could be reasonably expected to combat illegal immigration (42 percent vs. 16 percent among non-Hispanics).

A Pew Research Center poll released earlier this week found broad support nationwide for the law, but did not break out views by ethnicity. And Gallup's latest release on national priorities showed the issue rising in prominence.

In the AP-Univision poll, 75 percent of Hispanics called immigration an issue important to them personally, compared with 60 percent of non-Hispanics, though the gap was narrower when respondents were asked how serious a problem illegal immigration is for the United States (65 percent of Hispanics consider it "extremely" or "very" serious, as did 69 percent of non-Hispanics).

The AP-Univision poll was conducted May 7-12 among a random sample of 901 Hispanic adults, and the general population poll interviewed 1,002 adults nationwide from May 7-11. The NBC-WSJ poll was conducted May 6-10 among a random national sample of 1,000 adults including 200 Hispanics.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  06:00 AM ET, 05/14/2010

Categories:  Immigration

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