• Poll Shows High Awareness of Arizona Immigration Law

Suffolk University/7News


Mass Voters: No State Benefits Without Proof of Citizenship

BOSTON – Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly support requiring individuals to provide proof of citizenship or legal residency in order to receive state benefits such as public housing or public assistance, according to the latest Suffolk University/7News poll.

Of those polled, 84 percent of voters said the Massachusetts legislature should require people to provide proof of citizenship to receive state benefits. Just 12 percent said no and 4 percent were undecided.

“Voters are mixed on immigration reform, but when you introduce the issue of taxpayer- funded public assistance programs, Massachusetts voters draw a line in the sand,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “They are saying, by a wide margin, that they want proof of citizenship or legal residency clearly established before one taxpayer dime is given to a recipient.”

High Awareness of Arizona Immigration Law

The recent Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigrants has sent shockwaves from coast to coast, and Massachusetts voters are listening.  When asked if voters were aware of the Arizona law on illegal immigration, 94 percent said yes and just 6 percent indicated no, the Suffolk University/7News poll found.

In the poll of registered voters, 53 percent said they supported the Arizona law while 40 percent opposed it.  Yet, when asked if Massachusetts should pass a law similar to the Arizona law, 43 percent said yes and 50 percent said no.

“There is a great lesson to be learned here about state’s rights,” Paleologos said. “Voters here support the right of Arizona lawmakers to pass its own law to deal with its border issues directly.  However, in Massachusetts, voters do not feel the urgency to have its own state legislature follow suit.”

Voters Say President Obama’s Aunt Should Stay

Yet, voters still have sensitivity to the plight of individual cases.  When asked if the President’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango, who was granted political asylum, should be deported after living illegally in South Boston for six years, 58 percent indicated that political asylum was the right decision because she risked being harmed in her homeland of Kenya.  Only 29 percent felt that she received special treatment and should be deported regardless of the risks.  Another 13 percent were undecided.

Massachusetts voters also weighed in on the broader issue of producing documentation in America.  When registered voters were asked if everyone in America should be required to produce documents proving that they are here in the U.S. legally, 63 percent said yes, 30 percent said no, and just 7 percent were undecided.


The statewide survey of 500 Massachusetts registered voters was conducted May 20-23, 2010. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence.  The poll data has been embargoed until 10 p.m. Wednesday, May 26.  Marginals and cross-tabulation data will be posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site: http://www.suffolk.edu/college/1450.html. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleologos@suffolk.edu.
Suffolk University, located in historic downtown Boston, with international campuses in Madrid and Dakar, Senegal, is a comprehensive global institution distinguished by the teaching and the intellectual contributions of its faculty. Suffolk University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in more than 90 areas of study. Its mission is to provide access to excellence in higher education to students of all ages and backgrounds, with strong emphasis on diversity. Learn more at http://www.suffolk.edu.

Poll Results:

May 25, 2010