Campus study finds majority of CA voters believe immigrants make US better

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UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, or IGS, conducted a poll which found that 82% of registered voters in California believe immigrants make the United States a better place.

The poll’s findings reveal that regardless of political party, most Californians believe immigrants improve the state and the nation. These voters include 92% of Democrats, 60% of Republicans and 83% of those with no party preference.

The results also show that 58% of respondents believe immigrants are treated unfairly, according to an IGS press release. Furthermore, millennials are more likely to agree on the fact that immigrants are mistreated, while the boomers plus generation remains more divided.

The poll was conducted through email and could be taken either on a computer or by phone. The poll was also translated into Spanish and “reviewed for cultural appropriateness,” according to the press release. Cristina Mora, associate professor of sociology and co-director of IGS, said the survey attempted to reach out to as many people as possible.

“We are seeing more people of color and people from working class backgrounds having access to the internet,” Mora said.

Mora acknowledged that these results are fairly unique to California and would be different if the poll was given nationwide, as California has a large population of immigrants.

According to Mora, Californians have a very different view of immigrants because of the state’s longer history of immigration. In Iowa and other states, immigration had not occurred until more recently, and immigrants in these states tend to have lower paying jobs in the agriculture sector. She added that while immigrants to California do work in the agriculture sector, many are also small business owners and in Silicon Valley.

Although many conservatives have rallied against immigration across the country — and even across the world — Mora said there are many explanations for why California Republicans are less likely to oppose the issue of immigration. Many Republicans may be socially conservative for issues concerning abortion or gay marriage, for example. Mora also said they may be “fiscally conservative” and focus more on budgetary issues.

Mora cited possible implications this pool can have on statewide 2020 elections. Although some state politicians may use the issue of immigration to appeal to the small California base rallying around that issue, most Republicans in California will likely not rely so heavily on immigration.

“Republicans may not run on immigration as they might in other parts of the country,” Mora said. “(The issue of immigration) may be more of a non-starter.”

Contact Robson Swift at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @swift_robson.