Americans Love the Arizona Immigration Law -- Why?

More

Big public policy polls are normally disappointing because they show the public is passionate -- negatively or positively -- about issues they don't seem to understand deeply. In health care reform, the details were much more popular than the three-word headliner issue. In financial regulation, the details are less popular (and much more confusing) than the two-word headliner issue. For both issues, public polling consistently suggested that Americans were more passionate than informed.

In the case of the Arizona immigration law, it seems that Americans do understand the ugly details of the law ... and they still support it. This could be the saddest case of all (via Wonk Room):

A new NYT/CBS poll shows that "the public broadly agrees that the Arizona law will result in racial profiling, overburden local and state law enforcement agencies, and decrease illegal immigrants' willingness to report crimes for fear of deportation." Nevertheless, a slim majority of Americans still supports it:
image6456951

Who knows whether polls provide an accurate snapshot of public opinion on issues as complex as the interplay between racial profiling, nationalization, security and all the other moral ingredients in immigration. But while one sympathizes with the Fallows position that the fault lies not in Arizona, but in the federal government's failure to address the issue at a national level, you have to wonder what kind of national consensus on naturalization we can reach if 60% of the public finds Arizona's new immigration law about right or too weak.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

Just In