Thursday, July 23, 2009
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger addresses a joint session of the legislature discussing the state's budget crisis and the necessary steps that must be taken to solve it.
Peter Grigsby / Reuters
Nearly two-out-of-three California voters (64%) say illegal immigrants put a significant strain on the state budget as lawmakers struggle to close a $26 billion deficit.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of California voters shows that just 25% say illegal immigrants are not a major strain on the state budget. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure.
Adults under 30 are less likely to believe illegal immigrants are a budget strain than those who are older.
Eighty-eight percent (88%) of Republicans and 67% of voters not affiliated with either major party see illegal immigrants as a serious budget strain. Democrats are evenly divided on the question.
Fifty-five percent (55%) of California voters oppose the budget deal worked out by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislators from both parties. The legislature is expected to vote on the deal today.
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Sixty-five percent (65%) of all voters in the state believe the availability of government money and services draws illegal immigrants to California. Twenty-two percent (22%) disagree and say the money and services are not a draw to illegal immigrants.
Men believe this more than women, whites more than blacks and those of other races.
Eighty-seven percent (87%) of GOP voters and 66% of unaffiliateds see state services and money as a magnet for illegal immigrants. Among Democrats, 49% agree, but 39% don’t think this is true.
Children of illegal immigrants who are born in the United States are eligible for welfare payments, but California voters are more closely divided over whether those benefits should be cut off because of the state budget crisis. Forty-seven percent (47%) say the welfare payments to the children of illegals should be stopped, but 39% oppose such a cut-off.
Women voters by five points are more supportive of a welfare cut-off than men.
Republicans by a two-to-one margin over Democrats favor a cut-off of welfare payments to the children of illegal immigrants. Fifty-three percent (53%) of Democrats oppose such a cut-off. A plurality of unaffiliated voters – by 16 points – supports a cut-off of the payments.
Forty-nine percent (49%) of married California voters favor a cut-off, compared to 43% who are not married. But voters with children living with them are evenly divided.
President Obama recently hosted a White House meeting to relaunch the legislative process for “comprehensive” immigration reform, which is likely to include an amnesty provision for those now in the country illegally. But the president and like-minded legislators face strong opposition from voters.
Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters nationwide say it is Very Important for the government to improve its enforcement of the borders and reduce illegal immigration, but just 32% of America’s Political Class agrees.
Seventy-four percent (74%) of the Political Class say it’s important to legalize the status of illegal immigrants, but voters in general are evenly divided on the question.
Immigration reform is also low on the list of priorities for most voters.
A sizable majority of voters consistently have said the government is not doing enough to control the borders and that border control is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers in the country.
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