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Florida poll bad news for immigration reformers

in Statewide by

From the Sun-Sentinel: Florida voters are inclined to oppose immigration reform, a bad sign for those pushing to overhaul the current dysfunctional system.

A Mason-Dixon poll released on Monday found that 45 percent of Florida voters oppose reform that would give unauthorized immigrants a chance to get legal status. Only 39 percent are in favor. That leaves 15 percent undecided.

Most leaders in Florida, home to especially large populations of immigrants, have supported comprehensive reform over the years. Reform proposals would toughen enforcement at borders and workplaces while providing a path to legal status for potentially millions of unauthorized foreign residents.

Opposition or even mixed feelings in a state like Florida could hamper attempts to pressure Congress to take action on reform proposals this election year.

Many Hispanic leaders and immigrant advocates in South Florida and elsewhere are pressuring President Obama and Congress to enact reforms. They warn that voters in this year’s elections will punish those who block reforms or fail to fulfill promises to take action.

The poll asked 625 voters: “Would you support or oppose immigration reform legislation that allowed all of those who are living here without legal status to be given the opportunity to stay and apply for citizenship?”

Only 37 percent of men who were polled said yes, while 51 percent said no. Among women, 41 percent said yes while 43 percent said no.

A slight majority of Democrats, 51 percent, supported reform, while only 27 percent of Republicans agreed.

Hispanics backed it 63 percent to 27 percent.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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