CPAC Straw Poll: 52% Believe Illegal Aliens Should Return Home

By Jon Feere on March 7, 2016

When the straw poll results were revealed at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) late Saturday afternoon, many people did not realize that those were only partial results. A handful of additional results were finally released late Monday by the polling company McLaughlin & Associates, including the question on illegal immigration.

Most of the missing questions, though interesting, might be described as somewhat inconsequential or with predictable outcomes. For example, the question "What is your bigger problem with Hillary Clinton?" resulted in 52 percent of people responding "She would continue President Obama's agenda and policies" and 46 percent responding "She is dishonest".

Not surprisingly, the newly released survey found that 85 percent of CPAC attendees consider themselves "pro-life" and 85 percent say that religion and faith are "important" in their daily life. Another question asking about religious freedom legislation found that 84 percent supported such legislation.

Also, 68 percent of attendees had "definitely decided" on their presidential candidate.

There were three remaining questions that are arguably the most substantive and more likely to result in some diversity of opinion. One might also argue that two of them were aimed at presidential candidate Donald Trump: one on deporting illegal aliens, and the other on eminent domain.

On immigration, CPAC attendees were asked: "Which of the following comes closest to your view about illegal immigrants living in the United States?"

The majority — 52 percent — felt that illegal aliens "should be required to return to their home countries and follow U.S. immigration laws".

Only 33 percent agreed with the standard GOP establishment position that illegal aliens "should be allowed to stay in the U.S. and eventually apply for legal status, but NOT citizenship".

Even fewer — 12 percent — felt that illegal aliens "should be allowed to stay in the U.S. and eventually apply for citizenship". Though presidential candidate Marco Rubio would have illegal aliens jump through a number of hoops before receiving citizenship, this answer choice is basically his position and it was soundly rejected at CPAC. In fact, more CPAC attendees described themselves as "pro-choice" on abortion (14 percent) than support Rubio's immigration position.

Here's how it looks:


Considering that only 9 percent of CPAC attendees were from the western United States where illegal immigration has run rampant, one might argue that the pro-enforcement position would have been even better represented if the sample were more representative of the United States.

The immigration question was rather fair as immigration questions go, avoiding much of the focus-group-tested language usually found in polls claiming to show public support for amnesty. On the other hand, two-thirds of the answer choices involved letting illegal aliens remain in the country. Regardless, a majority rejected any type of legalization proposal.

As to the eminent domain question — a question clearly inspired by Trump's discussion of it on the campaign trail — a whopping 75 percent felt it should be "NARROWLY used, limited to only public use projects like schools, dams, highways and police stations".

Finally, the poll asked about "defeating ISIS and radical Islamic terrorists overseas" and found that 42 percent believe that "America should take the leading role", 38 percent believe "America should fight ISIS with a coalition of other countries and Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt should be leading the way since ISIS is in their backyards", while only 17 percent feel the United States "should protect the homeland against ISIS, but decrease its military presence overseas and not be focused on trying to solve the problems in the Middle East".

The newly released survey results also indicate that 50 percent of those responding were aged 18 to 25 with a mean age of 36.



Topics: Politics