Seven in Ten Floridians Back Rubio-Led Immigration Reform, Poll Finds

As the Senate wrangles over a compromise immigration reform bill -- pushed in large part by our own Marco Rubio -- a new poll suggests a huge majority of Floridians are eager to see any path to citizenship opened for immigrants.

The poll finds 71 percent of Floridians back the reform, including a 71-22 percent split among Republican voters. Of course, the poll may not have sampled Hispanics particularly well and did paint a rosy picture of the legislation.

Still, the survey -- conducted jointly by liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling and GOP-favored Harper Polling -- suggests bipartisan support across 29 states for the bills moving through Washington.

"The bill that's been constructed has broad support with every segment of the electorate in every part of the country," Tom Jensen, Public Policy Polling's head, tells Politico.

In Florida, the pollsters sampled 500 voters and found across-the-board backing for the bills, which do open a path to citizenship but require immigrants to learn English and wait, in some cases, more than a decade for their chance.

Rubio has helped craft some of the strictest restrictions on the bill, including a hard stand against any kind of benefits for gay spouses.

Still, the poll found Democrats backing the measure as well as Hispanics, who favored it by 59 percent, the Herald reports.

Of course, it's worth noting that the polls used robo-calls -- which often oversample old voters who are home to answer the phone. That leads to a conservative tilt, as Marc Caputo notes and tends to oversample Cuban voters, who traditionally back much stricter immigration rules than other Hispanics.

Either way, the results could help shepherd the legislation through Congress and will be a big boost to Rubio, whose political fortunes seem to rest on whether he can cast himself as the GOP's great immigration-reforming hope.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink

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