Arizona voters overwhelmingly favor even the most controversial provisions within SB 1070, according to a poll released Wednesday Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy.
The electronic poll, conducted by the Morrison Institute and Knowledge Networks, sampled 614 Arizona voters regarding three of the most controversial measures in SB 1070:
• requiring people to produce documents verifying legal status;
• allowing police to detain those unable to produce verification of legal status;
• and requiring police to question anyone they suspect may be in the country illegally.
The poll found that 64 percent of all registered voters support all three provisions, while only 17 percent oppose all three.
“What surprised me was the level of support in both Republican and Democratic parties,” said David Daugherty, the Morrison Institute’s director of research. “Even when you sort of tear the bill apart and look at the pieces, people support it.”
Among all registered voters, 81 percent said they approve of the provision requiring people to produce documents verifying legal status. Ninety-two percent of Republicans, 79 percent of independents and 68 percent of Democrats supported the provision.
Voters also strongly supported the provision allowing police to detain anyone unable to verify their legal status, with 74 percent of respondents in favor of it. Ninety-three percent of Republicans and 73 percent of independents were in favor versus 50 percent of Democrats.
“I’ve been doing research for 30 years, and it’s really hard to get any group to have more than 90 percent agreement on any issue,” Daugherty said. “The size of the majority supporting [these provisions] is a little eye-popping.”
Sixty-eight percent of voters surveyed favored the provision that would allow police to question anyone they think may be in the country illegally when stopped as a suspect or arrested for a crime. Eighty-seven percent of Republicans and 67 percent of independents were in favor versus 48 percent of Democrats.
Bruce Merrill, a retired Arizona State University professor who directs the Cronkite/Eight Poll, said he’s not surprised by the level of support for SB 1070, though the numbers seem higher than other polls.
“It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat or Republican,” Merrill said. “If you lean conservative on social issues, you are going to support some aspects of 1070.”
The survey was conducted using an online probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population with a margin for error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Participants identified through the panel received a letter or phone call inviting them to participate by computer. Those without computers were given access to a laptop and an Internet connection at no cost.
Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, the assistant house minority leader, said a that with an electronic poll “there’s just no reliability; it could be anyone pushing those buttons.”
“While I question the reliability of the poll, the results don’t really surprise me,” Sinema said. “Arizona voters are rightfully frustrated by the lack of federal action.”
Provision: Require people to produce documents verifying legal status.
– Republicans: 92 percent
– Democrats: 68 percent
– Independents: 79 percent
Provision: Allow police to detail anyone unable to verify their legal status.
– Republicans: 93 percent
– Democrats: 50 percent
– Independents: 73 percent
Provision: Require police to question anyone to question anyone they think may be in the country illegally when stopped.
– Republicans: 87 percent
– Democrats: 48 percent
– Independents: 67 percent