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Surprising results in poll on immigration laws in California

October 29, 2012 |  3:18 pm

A new poll had some surprising results on how Californian view immigration laws. As The Times Cindy Chang reported Sunday:

In the nearly two decades since Californians voted to bar undocumented immigrants from utilizing public schools and hospitals, the state's electorate has become increasingly tolerant toward people who are in the country illegally, although it remains tough on border security and enforcement, a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll shows.

The shift is partly explained by the growing clout of Latinos, who now make up 20% of California voters. But the attitudes of whites also appear to have changed.

If placed on the ballot today, a measure similar to Proposition 187 would be supported by 46% of voters, according to the poll, with 44% against — a statistical tie, given the 2.9% margin of error. In 1994, by contrast, the proposition passed with 59% of the vote.

Chang will talk about Prop. 187 and other aspects of the poll on a Google+ Hangout today. One issue is Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigration:

In the current poll, the divergence between white and Latino respondents was especially wide on a measure criticized because it could lead to racial profiling. Latinos would strongly oppose a proposal similar to Arizona's SB 1070, which allows police to ask for papers if there is "reasonable suspicion" the person is in the country illegally. While a majority of poll respondents approved of the idea, 67% of Latinos opposed it.

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