A new Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll revealed that Florida voters overwhelmingly support comprehensive immigration reform that would give people living in the state illegally a pathway to citizenship. Of the 800 registered voters interviewed from across the state, 66 percent said they support immigration reform that allows people living in the Umted States without legal status to stay and apply for citizenship. Another 28 percent oppose it, and 6 percent are undecided. According to Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, the nonpartisan, company that conducted the poll, "most voters here support some sort of way to solve the problem."
The telephone survey, conducted from July 9-11, also found that 53 percent of Florida voters favored President Barack Obama's recent move to protect some younger illegal immigrants—so-called “DREAMers”—from being deported, while 42 percent opposed it and 5 percent of voters were undecided. Coker noted that support for the president's action is wide, but may be dulled by the way President Obama handled it. Although the administrative action will allow young undocumented immigrants who were raised in the U.S. to remain for two years under a deferred deportation, work and go to school, it does not provide a path to citizenship for them.
Both Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are courting Hispanic voters, especially in the swing stages of Florida, Nevada and Colorado. Although President Obama leads Romney among this voting bloc in most polls, he must shore up his support among Latino voters to win in November. Romney would not need to win over all Hispanic voters, but he does need to peel away some to compete in the swing states.
The Mason-Dixon poll also found that 53 percent of Florida voters support the right of police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest for a violation or crime. Forty percent opposed it, and 7 percent were undecided.
The margin of error for the poll was 3.5 percentage points.