While Republicans and Democrats disagree on how to improve the nation's immigration system, voters of both parties are united in their disapproval of how the issue has been handled by their respective parties, a new poll finds.
More than half, 56 percent, of Republicans or Republican-leaning voters do not think the GOP is ably representing their views on illegal immigration, while 44 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaning voters feel the same about their party's leaders, the Pew Research Center reports.
Among Republicans, 33 percent said the party has been too willing to allow immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to gain legal status, while 18 percent felt the GOP has made it too difficult for immigrants to gain legal status.
Among Democrats, the views were fairly evenly split, with 21 percent saying the party has been too willing to allow illegal immigrants to enter the country, and 20 percent saying the party has not been liberal enough.
The survey of 2,002 adults was conducted Sept. 2-9 by telephone.
While Democratic voters may be split, the party and the Obama administration have been highly criticized by Latino voters and politicians for not pushing hard enough on the issue, particularly after the administration announced it would delay any executive actions related to immigration until after the election.
"Playing it safe might win an election," Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez said on ABC's "This Week" program
. "But it almost never leads to fairness, to justice, and to good public policy that you can be proud of."
Lorella Praeli of United We Dream, an immigrant youth group, told The Financial Times
earlier this month that the group was weighing a campaign of protests against Democrats who have urged the administration to hold off on any executive orders related to illegal immigration.
"It's definitely on the table. Decisions are yet to be made. Our community is angry. We feel betrayed, and we're going to escalate," she said.
Speaking at a reception for Hispanic Heritage Month, Vice President Joe Biden told the audience the administration would act, and contended that waiting until after the election would improve chances of reaching its goals.
"I know you're all waiting and you're frustrated. Watch when this election is over, watch what happens when all of a sudden our friends in the other team realize their prospects for future electoral success hinge upon acting rationally.
"They will either act rationally, or we will act for them, and if we have to act for them, they will not be around a whole lot longer to act in large numbers," Biden said, according to CBS News
Republicans may want to follow Biden's lead in speaking directly to core constituencies about immigration, as more Republicans rate the issue as a top concern heading into November.
A recent Gallup poll showed immigration
is a top priority among Hispanic voters, who represent a key Democratic voting bloc.
The percent of Hispanics who viewed immigration as a "top problem" rose from 13 percent in the first half of the year to 25 percent between the first half of the year and the past three months.
Among all adults, the percentage increased from 4 percent to 15 percent.
A Pew poll conducted
Sept. 2-9 echoed Gallup's findings. In its survey, in addition to foreign policy and the budget deficit, immigration was named as a dominant issue for Republican voters.
All three issues were mentioned by 70 percent or more as "very important" to their vote in November.
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