Poll shows battleground state support for Democrats ramming through immigration reform

A majority of voters in battleground states support Democrats taking action on immigration in the upcoming reconciliation bill, even if that means ramming the measures through without Republican support, according to a new poll published by the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC).

The poll, conducted by Democratic pollster Matt Barreto and Republican pollster Daron Shaw, showed 3-to-1 support among respondents for including a pathway to citizenship in the reconciliation bill.

While a hypothetical bipartisan immigration deal received widespread support, including from Republican voters, it's unlikely that Republicans will either support a reconciliation bill, or that both parties will negotiate a bipartisan immigration agreement.

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"We asked a secondary question which I think is probably where we're headed and that is, 'let's say you don't get [a bipartisan deal,]'" said Shaw.

"Do you support a party line vote just to get immigration reform? We got 54 percent overall … amongst Republican voters, still getting support in the 20s for that," he added.

The poll was conducted among voters in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wisconsin, plus 70 competitive House districts across 16 states.

The pollsters zeroed in on Arizona by oversampling voters in that purple state, which has a substantial immigrant population and a competitive Senate race coming up in 2022.

According to the poll, 79 percent of all Arizona voters believe a path should exist for undocumented immigrants to regularize their status and earn a pathway to citizenship.

There's a clear partisan division in those numbers, with 98 percent of people who always vote for Democrats in favor of a path to citizenship, and 56 percent of people who always vote for Republicans in agreement.

Still, the poll shows majorities across party lines support the broad strokes of a plan to grant a pathway to citizenship for undocumented migrants.

"The Arizona oversample showed that voters in Arizona are way ahead of the professional politicians. Even Trump voters support an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Democrats should act courageous and Republicans need to stop being paralyzed by a minority of their voters. Immigration reform is economically important and politically smart," said Rebecca Shi, executive director of ABIC.

Democrats are wrestling Senate procedure to include immigration provisions in reconciliation, all the while hotly debating other areas of the bill, including its $3.5 trillion price tag.

Reconciliation allows the majority party to pass a bill through the Senate with a simple majority, rather than the 60-vote threshold necessary for most legislation because of the filibuster.

The first Democratic immigration proposal, language that would have granted around 8 million people legal permanent residency, was deemed by the Senate parliamentarian not to be compatible with the rules of reconciliation.

That language would have granted undocumented immigrants and some immigrants under humanitarian parole their residency papers based on the subgroup of immigrants they belong to.

"We talked about Dreamers, essential workers, farm workers, and [Temporary Protected Status] recipients, those are the specific groups that we highlighted and mentioned in the poll, because they're all included right now in the language," said Barreto.

"When we talked about the economic contributions that those groups make, there was very clear support for including them in the provisions," he added.

But after the reversal from the parliamentarian Sunday night, it's likely Democrats will follow different language, possibly grouping immigrants by the time they've resided in the country.

Shi said the support for immigration reform by group would translate well into support of immigration language changing the registry date for undocumented immigrants.

"Changing it by registry does match well onto this poll because it would cover a majority, if not all of the Dreamers, immigrants with TPS, essential workers, farm workers," said Shi.

The poll was conducted among 1,217 respondents with an oversample of 323 respondents from Arizona, via phone, in person and online interviews, with a margin of error of 2.8 percent overall, 3.1 percent in the swing states and 6.9 percent in individual swing districts.