President Barack Obama has seen a notable improvement in public approval of his handling of immigration in recent months, according to the results of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Wednesday.
The poll showed that 49 percent of Americans now approve of the way Obama is handling immigration issues compared to 43 percent that disapprove.
While the president still lacks majority approval on the issue, the latest results reflect a notable improvement from a poll conducted in July, when 52 percent disapproved of his handling of immigration and just 38 percent approved.
Obama has benefited from increases in support among Democrats and independents, while a vast majority of Republicans continue to disapprove of his handling of immigration.
The poll also showed that 83 percent of Americans support stricter border control to try to reduce illegal immigration, while just 15 percent are opposed.
A more modest 55 percent of Americans support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants compared to 41 percent that are opposed.
The poll, produced by Langer Research Associates, showed that a path to citizenship is supported by 82 percent of Hispanics, 71 percent of all non-whites, nearly seven in ten Democrats and just over half of independents.
On the other hand, fewer than half of whites support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Forty-two percent of Republicans support the proposal along with just 37 percent of adults who describe themselves as very conservative politically.
Meanwhile, results of a separate Gallup poll released Tuesday showed strong support for each of five specific measures designed to address immigration issues.
Gallup said support ranged from 68 percent for increased government spending on security measures and enforcement at U.S. borders to 85 percent for a requirement that employers verify the immigration status of all new hires.
The poll found that more than seven in 10 would vote for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants now living in the country.
On Tuesday, Obama met with labor and business leaders to discuss immigration reform as well as efforts to achieve balanced deficit reduction
The White House said the two separate meetings extended the president's recent efforts to engage outside leaders in dialogue on a number of issues.
Obama first held a meeting with progressive and labor leaders, including AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, NAACP President Ben Jealous, and SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina.
Later in the day, the president met with prominent business leaders such as Goldman Sachs (GS) Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Yahoo! (YHOO) President and CEO Marissa Mayer and Coca Cola (KO) Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent.
Obama traveled to Las Vegas last week to deliver remarks expressing support for a comprehensive immigration reform proposal outlined by a bipartisan group of Senators.
The proposal outlined by the group of eight Senators includes providing a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S. but ties the reforms to further increases in border security.
The ABC News/Washington Post survey of 1,038 adults was conducted January 30th through February 3rd and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
The Gallup survey of 1,019 adults was conducted January 30th through 31st and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
by RTT Staff Writer
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