Similarly, 45 percent of Republicans over 50, compared to only 36 percent of younger GOP partisans, think that the undocumented should not be provided any legal status. Just 25 percent of older Republicans, as opposed to 37 percent of the younger, say that the undocumented should be allowed to apply for citizenship. (About one-fourth of each group supports a pathway to legal status short of citizenship.)
Non-college Republicans represented a majority of voters in 13 of those 20 states with an exit poll, and at least 45 percent in four more.
These views place older-and blue-collar Republicans well to the right of the country overall. In the Pew survey, just 27 percent of all adults say the undocumented should be denied any legal status, while 42 percent said they should be able to apply for citizenship and 26 percent backed permanent residency.
On legal immigration, older and blue-collar Republicans express the most conservative views too. Nationally, just 31 percent of those that Pew surveyed said that legal immigration should be reduced. Republican partisans who are either college-educated (at 30 percent supporting a reduction) and or younger than 50 (at 35 percent) largely tracked those views. But 42 percent of both Republicans without college degrees and those older than 50 want to reduce the legal immigration level.
(RELATED: Immigration Activists Won't 'Coronate' Hillary Clinton As Their Candidate)
The remaining non-college Republicans preferred to either maintain the current level of immigration (35 percent) or increase it (20 percent). By contrast, nearly two-thirds of college-educated Republicans would either maintain (42 percent) or increase (23 percent) current levels. Nationally, 24 percent of adults would increase legal immigration, while 39 percent would maintain the current level, Pew found.
On both of these issues, non-college Democrats took positions that were more conservative than the party's college-educated voters, but much less conservative than the blue-collar Republicans. Among the non-college Democrats, 29 percent supported reducing the current level of legal immigration and only 19 percent opposed any legal status for the undocumented. (Among college educated Democrats just one-in-six would reduce legal immigration and only one-in-eleven deny the undocumented any legal status.)
Looking across the entire adult population, the share calling for reductions in legal immigration has declined from 51 percent in 2000 to the 31 percent today, Pew reported.
Republican partisans also positioned themselves well to the right of other voters on another measure of broader views about immigrants' role in American society.
(RELATED: Still No Clear Path to Boost High-Skilled Immigration)
Asked to assess immigrants' overall impact on American society, a 51 percent of all adults in the Pew poll agreed that "immigrants today strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents." By contrast, 41 percent endorsed the competing statement that "immigrants today are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care." College-educated Republicans landed noticeably to the right of that, with 38 percent endorsing the favorable statement and 49 percent endorsing the negative one. Republicans under 50 divided along similar lines: 41 percent positive, and 51 percent negative.