Most American voters oppose the U.S. Justice Department's challenge of Arizona's new immigration law. A slim majority, moreover, favors passage of similar laws in their own states.
A Fox News poll released Thursday finds that by a wide 59-29 percent margin, voters oppose the federal government suing the state of Arizona over its immigration law.
Democrats are more likely to favor the government's lawsuit by a 12 percentage-point margin (50-38 percent). Independents are more likely to oppose it by a substantial 30-point margin (58-28 percent), while Republicans overwhelmingly oppose the lawsuit by a striking 71-point margin (80-9 percent).
Arizona's new law, which goes into effect at the end of July, allows state, county, and local law enforcement to question the immigration status of anyone stopped on suspicion of a crime — from traffic stops to felonies — and detain anyone who cannot prove his or her immigration status. The Justice Department says Arizona's immigration law is unconstitutional and filed a suit challenging it on July 6.
A 55 percent majority of voters say they would favor their own state passing an immigration law like Arizona's. Just over a third — 34 percent — would oppose it. Two months ago, 52 percent favored and 31 percent opposed their state passing a similar law (May 2010).
Those living in the South (62 percent) and the West (59 percent) are more likely to favor a law like Arizona's in their state than those in the Northeast (51 percent) or Midwest (46 percent).
The national telephone poll was conducted for Fox News by Opinion Dynamics Corp. among 900 registered voters from July 13 to July 14. For the total sample, the poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Which party do voters think would do a better job handling immigration? Republicans (45 percent) have a 13-point edge over Democrats (32 percent) on the issue.
Most Republicans — 78 percent — think their party would do a better job on immigration. Democrats have less party loyalty on this issue: 63 percent think their own party would do a better job, while 19 percent say Republicans would.