CNN's Amnesty Push Poll Refers To 'Illegal Immigrants Who Have Jobs'

By Jon Feere on July 28, 2015

In yet another flawed poll designed to create the fiction that Americans are super supportive of mass amnesty, CNN has released new findings, as reported by the Washington Post, showing that 56 percent of "Americans support developing a plan to legalize undocumented immigrants over stopping their flow and deporting those already here."

The poll question reads:

What should be the main focus of the U.S. government in dealing with the issue of illegal immigration — developing a plan that would allow illegal immigrants who have jobs to become legal U.S. residents, or developing a plan for stopping the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. and for deporting those already here?

It's a poorly-designed question in many ways. For example, it suggests that if you do support legalization you must also oppose stopping the flow of new illegal immigration. Couldn't some who support legalization of those already here also oppose new illegal immigration? This question wouldn't allow for such a response.

The bigger problem is that the poll asks about legalization of illegal immigrants but conspicuously describes beneficiaries as "illegal immigrants who have jobs". Why would CNN do such a thing? There never has been (and never will be) an amnesty that excludes four to five million people simply because they don't have jobs (Only seven to eight million illegal aliens are in the labor market; the rest are too old, too young, stay-at-home moms, et al.). It could be that CNN simply put into the question an error that it has been spreading on its network; just this weekend CNN's Jake Tapper referred to 11 million "undocumented workers" when, in fact, millions of those 11 million are not working.

The misinformation in that segment spread to other news outlets. In reporting on CNN's piece, the Fiscal Times erroneously notes: "As anyone serious about the issue of illegal immigration recognizes, there are at least 11 million undocumented workers in the U.S. right now..." The Fiscal Times apparently isn't serious about the issue of illegal immigration.

The likely reason CNN decided to refer to working illegal aliens in the poll is because they knew that it would encourage respondents to be more favorable to the pro-amnesty option. (In fact, CNN has done it before.) Polls alleging public support almost always contain these components — they're called push polls and they're designed to create a specific result. Other favored clauses of these pro-amnesty push polls include "pay back taxes", "speak English", and the hilarious imagine-whatever-you-want clause: "only if they meet certain requirements".

Other media outlets have reported on CNN's flawed poll and, not surprisingly, avoided any mention of the job-component in the poll, simply declaring that "56 percent of all Americans want the country to prioritize granting undocumented immigrants legal status". This is exactly what CNN's push poll (and many similar to it) is designed to do: Give reflexively pro-amnesty journalists an opportunity to spread the pro-amnesty agenda by describing the poll's results in a much broader manner than is justified.

If the journalist class were a little more cautious and accurate, they could describe the poll as evidence that Americans are more likely to support amnesty if the proposal is limited to working illegal aliens. That would at least be consistent with the poll question.

Instead, reporters will pump out a good handful of "Americans Support Amnesty" articles over the next few days without any critical analysis of the actual questions asked.

It is worth noting that although CNN, the Washington Post, and other news outlets have referred to these polls as the opinions of "Americans" the survey's respondents do not appear to be limited to just American citizens, at least according to the poll's methodology section. This disconnect between reporting and the actual poll happens quite often. Remember the Gallup poll that came out right before Independence Day this year claiming that fewer Americans were proud to be American? I looked into it and the pollster admitted to me that the survey was not limited to just Americans—likely many non-citizens and even illegal aliens responded. Gallup noted it included "interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking".

How many people responding to CNN's pro-amnesty poll were illegal aliens themselves?

  • CNN: "Do you support a pathway to..."
  • Illegal alien respondent: "Yes! Of course America should give me citizenship!"
  • Media: "Americans support legalizing all undocumented people!"

Pollsters, the media, and amnesty advocates simply refuse to ask straightforward questions, and they certainly don't report the flawed questions accurately. They know that if they were to be honest, public sentiment against doubling legal immigration and legalizing illegal aliens would become obvious. So they resort to writing the same push polls with problematic wording over and over and over and over.