Families of Central American immigrants turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico on Sept. 8, 2014 to McAllen, Texas.
John Moore/Getty

Poll shows shift on immigration politics

On Sunday, President Barack Obama told NBC’s Chuck Todd that the politics of immigration reform “did shift” as a result of the influx of unaccompanied undocumented children at the nation’s southern border.

New data shows he’s right about that.

A new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal shows that 53% of Americans support granting undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, while 45% oppose it.

Compare that to last April, when 64% supported it and 35% opposed it.

“That’s a big shift in American attitudes,” says Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart and his colleagues at Hart Research. “And it’s a reminder of how much the Central American children story has ruptured and re-raised this topic in a difficult way.”

The intensity of opposition to a citizenship plan has jumped too, McInturff notes. Last year, 21% said they strongly opposed the idea, while 29 said they strongly supported it; now, 27% say they’re strongly against it and 21% strongly support it.

(It’s worth noting that this shift came when respondents were asked about “a proposal to create a pathway to citizenship that would allow foreigners who have jobs but are staying illegally in the United States the opportunity to eventually become legal American citizens.” The gap between April 2013 and now is narrower when poll-takers heard more details about the tenets of a bipartisan immigration reform plan, including the requirements that undocumented immigrants pay a fine, pay back taxes and pass a background check.)

So: who has changed their mind about immigration reform? Read the rest at NBCNews.com

Immigration Reform and Polling

Poll shows shift on immigration politics