ABC News Poll: Nearly 6 in 10 Back Arizona Immigration Law

Support for the Arizona law is more than twice as high among whites (68 percent) as among non-whites (31 percent), and increases with age, to two-thirds of Americans over 50. It's far more popular among Republicans and conservatives than Democrats and liberals, from a low of 30 percent among liberal Democrats to a high of 83 percent among conservative Republicans.

In the center, 61 percent of independents and 56 percent of moderates are in favor. The ABC/Post question noted some of the prominent pro and con arguments on the law -- supporters say it will help crack down on illegal immigration, while opponents say it could violate civil rights and lead to racial profiling.

The poll separately measured the issue of jurisdiction. As noted, there's a split: Fifty-two percent say immigration enforcement should be left solely to the federal government, while 46 percent say states should be allowed to make and enforce their own immigration laws. Support for Arizona's law is more than 30 points higher among people who favor state jurisdiction.

Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants

At the same time, as noted, 57 percent support giving illegal immigrants living in the United States a chance to earn citizenship. That includes 66 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of independents and 49 percent of Republicans, and, in ideological groups, 68 percent of liberals, 63 percent of moderates and 46 percent of conservatives.

Perhaps surprisingly, half of those who view the Tea Party favorably and 44 percent who feel "angry" about the federal government nevertheless support giving illegal immigrants a way to become legal. Two-thirds of non-whites and 54 percent of whites support an amnesty plan. Women are more favorably inclined than men, by 8 points. And two-thirds of people under age 30 support it, compared with half of those 65 and older.

More people disapprove than approve of Obama's handling of immigration, 51-39 percent. Both ratings have increased from a Washington Post poll in March -- disapproval up by 8 points, approval up by 6 -- with fewer people expressing no opinion.

In April 2009, when Obama's ratings in general were far higher, 48 percent approved of his handling of immigration issues, while 35 percent disapproved. In context, Obama's rating on immigration issues matches his 39 percent approval for the federal budget deficit (there, 56 percent disapprove) and is lower than his scores for handling the Gulf oil spill, the economy and his job overall, at 44, 50 and 52 percent, respectively.

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone June 3-6, 2010, among a random national sample of 1,004 adults, including landline and cell phone-only respondents. Results for the full sample have a 3.5-point error margin.

Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa. Analysis by Mike Mokrzycki. ABC News polls can be found here.

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