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Fox News Poll: Voters doubt immigration reform will happen

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April 10, 2013: Activists rally for immigration reform in Los Angeles. (AP)

Even as voters continue to support key elements of the leading immigration reform proposals in Congress, a majority now doubts action will be taken on the issue this year. 

Fifty-eight percent of voters think comprehensive immigration reform is unlikely this year, according to a Fox News poll.  That’s up from 43 percent who felt that way in January. 

Republicans (66 percent) and independents (61 percent) are more doubtful than Democrats (49 percent) that legislation will get passed.

In December, President Obama said immigration reform is a second-term priority.  More recently, in a mid-July interview, the president said he is “hopeful” it will happen this fall.

By a 69-20 percent margin, voters favor requiring completion of new border security measures before making other changes to immigration policy.  These views are little changed from earlier this year. 

Partisanship is minimal when it comes to prioritizing border security, as majorities of Republicans (79 percent), independents (72 percent) and Democrats (60 percent) agree on the issue. 

A 53-percent majority favors creating a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country.  That’s without specifying requirements such as paying back taxes and passing a background check.  When those requirements are included, more than 7 in 10 typically favor finding a way for the illegal immigrants already here to stay.

About twice as many Democrats as Republicans favor a path to citizenship (70 percent vs. 37 percent). 

Other groups that strongly support a pathway include liberals (72 percent), blacks (68 percent), those under age 35 (64 percent) and Northeasterners (61 percent).

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,017 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from July 21 to July 23.  The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.