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Social media wrap: The Great (polling) Divide: Arizona immigration vs politicians' approval ratings

July 14, 2010 |  3:04 pm


A gulf wider than any border-protection measure has emerged between low approval ratings for our nation’s political ruling class and rising support for Arizona’s response to illegal immigration.

A new poll tweeted by Rasmussen Reports on Wednesday finds that while 26% of respondents said they are embarrassed by Arizona and its behavior, about 62% said they are not. But 59% said they are embarrassed by the nation’s “political class” and its behavior, while 23% said they are not.

By a 3-to-1 margin, the poll results conclude, respondents see the political class as a greater threat to the nation than laws such as the one passed recently in Arizona. Just 31% said the U.S. is heading in the right direction, Rasmussen tweeted later. 

That’s a tough poll to swallow for the Democratic Party and, in particular, the current administration, which has sued to prevent – or delay significantly -- Arizona from enacting legislation that many see as....

...cracking down on an illegal immigration problem, and some (mainly politicians) see as racial profiling or a federal prerogative. The law, SB 1070, is scheduled to go into effect July 29.

By a 2-to-1 margin, respondents said they oppose the Justice Department’s decision to sue in federal court. About 61% said they favor passage of a law like Arizona’s in their own state, up 6 points from two months ago.

The administration argues that immigration is a federal responsibility and one best left to the politicians in D.C. President Obama has pledged to move forward with immigration reform, but he hasn't offered  specifics.
About 64% said they believe the federal government is more to blame for the controversy than state officials are for passing the legislation, by dint of historical inaction by successive federal governments toward enforcing the nation’s immigration laws, the poll found.

Seventy-eight percent of Republican respondents said they are embarrassed by their political representatives, along with 63% of unaffiliated respondents. Democrats were split on the question.

About 64% of respondents said they see the political class as the bigger threat than laws like Arizona’s, while 20% said the opposite, the poll concludes. Only 12% of “mainstream” respondents said they are embarrassed by Arizona’s behavior. Among the political class, 72% said they found Arizona embarrassing. The survey of 1,000 “likely voters” was conducted on July 12-13.

Latinos now view immigration as their leading concern along with the economy, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Hispanic Federation and League of United Latin American Citizens.

That poll showed strong opposition to Arizona’s law and strong support for federal immigration reform, the latter driven largely, activists say, by controversy over the Arizona measure, which would require police officers to check the immigration status of people they legally stop and who they suspect are illegal immigrants.

Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter, a prolific social-media networker, posted on Facebook on Wednesday that he had joined South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint to introduce an amendment to prevent federal funds being used to finance any lawsuit against Arizona.

Arizona's governor, Jan Brewer, tweeted earlier this week that she was "grateful to receive the support and endorsement of both [Ariz.] Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl" in her campaign for reelection. 

-- Craig Howie

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Left photos: A border fence in Arizona. Credit: Credit: Getty Images

Right photo: Mexican President Felipe Calderon addresses the U.S. Congress. Credit: Getty Images