September 22, 2005--Fifty-four percent (54%)
of Americans have a favorable opinion of the volunteers who patrolled
portions of the Mexican border earlier this year. A Rasmussen Reports
survey found that just 22% have an unfavorable view of the "Minutemen"
Forty-eight percent (48%) believe the federal
government should encourage volunteers to patrol the entire Mexican
border. Thirty-three percent (33%) disagree.
Fifty-two percent (52%) say that if citizen
patrols were encouraged across the entire Mexican border, illegal
immigration would be reduced. Twenty-five percent (25%) disagree.
A related survey found that
most Americans consider current immigration laws
a threat to both national security and the economy.
The survey also found that 36% believe that
a legal immigrant should be required to live in the U.S. for five years
before they are eligible for citizenship. Twenty-two percent (22%) would
prefer just a one-year requirement while 35% say the wait should be longer
than five years. This includes 11% who believe more than a decade of
residency should be required.
When it comes to determining how they will
vote in the next Presidential election, 38% say that the immigration issue
will be "very important." Another 31% say it will be somewhat important.
Twenty-seven percent (27%) say not very important or not at all important.
Seventy-three percent (73%) of Republicans
rank the issue as somewhat or very important along with 64% of Democrats.
Republicans, by a 59% to 29% margin, say that
the federal government should encourage citizen patrols along the entire
border. Democrats are evenly divided on this point--39% in favor and 38%
opposed. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 44% say the
federal government should encourage such patrols and 39% disagree.
The Minutemen volunteers are viewed favorably
by 65% of Republicans, 57% of Democrats, and 42% of unaffiliateds.
There is not much of a gender gap or marital
status gap on these questions, but middle income Americans tend to be more
supportive of the Minutemen and citizen patrols than people at either end
of the income spectrum.
Sixty percent (60%) of white Americans have a
favorable opinion of the Minutemen along with 35% of other Americans.
Seventy-two percent (72%) of white Americans
say immigration is an important voting issue for them. Sixty percent (60%)
of other Americans agree.
Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm
specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of
public opinion polling information.
Rasmussen Reports was the nation's most accurate
polling firm during the Presidential election and the only one to
project both Bush and Kerry's vote total within half a percentage
point of the actual outcome.
During Election 2004, RasmussenReports.com was
also the top-ranked public opinion research site on the web. We had
twice as many visitors as our nearest competitor and nearly as many
as all competitors combined.
Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen
Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.
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sure to visit the Rasmussen Reports Home Page.
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This survey of 1,000 Adults was
conducted by Rasmussen Reports September 20-21, 2005. The margin of
sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of