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Only 1-in-3 Americans supports Obama's immigration lawsuit against Arizona; fully half oppose it

July 9, 2010 |  3:40 am

Fence along part of the Arizona Mexico border

With less than four months before his first midterm election, President Obama's lawsuit against Arizona's new illegal immigrant law is running against a strong tide of American support for the measure.

Acting through the Justice Department, the Democrat administration seeks an injunction to stop the state law, S.B. 1070, from taking effect on July 29 and allowing Arizona officials to enforce federal laws against illegal immigrants, nearly a half-million of whom are estimated to be in Arizona. The federal suit actually duplicates an earlier one filed by the ACLU and supported by the Mexican government.

A new Gallup Poll out this morning reveals that half of all Americans oppose Obama's lawsuit, while only 33% support it. This mirrors other....

... polls showing strong national support for the state measure.

A separate poll published Thursday found a larger 56% of Americans oppose the Obama lawsuit, while 61% like the idea of their state passing a bill similar to Arizona's. In that Rasmussen Reports survey only 28% of voters agree with the administration's suit.

The state's Republican governor, Jan Brewer, and Legislature grew frustrated at federal inability to secure the state's border with Mexico against illegal immigrants, criminals and drug traffickers.

Obama is sending some more National Guardsmen to the border but argues that securing the boundary can only come as part of a much larger immigration reform package, which his Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress have declined to bring forth.

Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer and Democrat president Barack Obama in the Oval Office 6-3-10

Feelings run high over the issue; Gallup finds a majority on both sides feel strongly.

The debate is also profoundly permeated by politics as elections near that will set the course for the final two years of Obama's term..

The president's support among Hispanics impatient for the oft-promised reforms has fallen significantly this year and a lawsuit lasting well past the Nov. 2 voting might appear to be action on his part, although at the same time such action alienates those concerned more with illegal immigrants.

For her part, Brewer's signing of the bill and vocal support have vaulted her far ahead of the pack in the GOP gubernatorial primary next month. And polls of a hypothetical match-up against the likely November opponent also show her running strongly.

True to his 2008 campaign promise to bring Americans together, Obama has accomplished that with his opposition to Arizona's legislation. It's just that he's united Americans into two starkly different camps: Republicans oppose his lawsuit by almost 80% while a significantly smaller majority of Democrats (56%) like the lawsuit idea. 

Gallup reports that independents lean toward the GOP position, another reflection of the independents' drift away from the Democrat in the last year, reported here in The Ticket on July 7.

Related items:

Obama speaks on broken immigration system but offers no details

An impatient Gov. Brewer leans on Obama

Mexico joins a lawsuit against Arizona and the Gov is unhappy

82% of Americans oppose a boycott of Arizona over its new illegal immigrant law

In her own words: Gov. Jan Brewer responds to Obama's border troop decision

Arizona Gov. Brewer's approval surges past 50% after signing illegal immigrant law

Joe Biden update: Mexican Pres. Calderon's speech prompts deep thoughtzzz

Obama folks having real t-r-o-u-b-l-e reading Arizona's new i-l-l-e-g-a-l immigrant l-a-w

Los presidentes Calderon y Obama talk about the sensitive border issue

Support broadens among Americans for Arizona's illegal immigrant law

See for yourself: Complete text of the Arizona law and executive order

Arizona Gov. Brewer explains signing nation's toughest immigration bill

So what does the new Arizona law actually do?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Matt York / Associated Press; Pete Souza / White House (Brewer and Obama in happier times).

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