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Hey, Congress! Get a load of this immigration poll

June 12, 2007 |  1:57 pm

A new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg News Poll to be released momentarily shows a startling break between what Americans feel about illegal immigrants and what a minority of Congress is saying, or rather shouting.

The new poll reveals that a large majority of Americans--including two-thirds of Republicans--favor allowing illegal immigrants to become citizens under certain conditions. Only 23% of those polled oppose allowing immigrants to legalize their status by paying fines, learning English and meeting other requirements. Such requirements are a central tenet of the controversial compromise legislation stalled in the Senate, suggesting opposition comes from a small but very vocal minority who call such provisions "amnesty."

The new poll also found that President Bush's approval rating has sunk to 34%, down from 45% last September and the lowest such rating registered by The Times in his presidency. Even his approval among Republicans is down to 70% from 83% last fall.

Another poll finding: fully 69% of Americans (71% of registered voters) believe the country is seriously on the wrong track, nearly the worst measure of pessimism in 15 years.

This could help explain why the same polling data shows the approval rating of Congress has fallen to its lowest level in a decade of Times polls. As Noam Levey reported in this morning's Times, only 27% of Americans approve of Congress' job under the new Democratic majority. That's down from 36% in January.

Only 36% approve of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's job while--Hello there, Newt--46% say they approved of Newt Gingrich's job when he took over in 1994. (Alas for Newt, during his Speakership his favorability ratings never topped 30%. Time does make the heart grow fonder.)

To read Janet Hook's complete Times story, click here. The story also contains a pdf file with the poll data.

--Andrew Malcolm