November 13, 2015
Madison Grady

Oklahomans nearly split on immigration views

Immigration is perhaps one of the most difficult issues our country faces, and when listening to likely voters it is easy to see why.

According to the most recent SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll, the state's likely voters are near equally divided over whether to identify and deport all immigrants who have come here illegally or allow them to stay and eventually become citizens if they pay a fine and meet certain requirements over a period of time.

Forty-nine percent of likely voting Oklahomans favor a path to citizenship for immigrants who have come here illegally, while 44 percent support deportation. These results are within the margin of error for the poll, which was 4.88 percent.

The four point differential run somewhat contrary to the views of voters nationwide, who favor a path to citizenship by roughly fifteen to thirty points or more.

"Immigration has been a much talked about issue among the Republican presidential candidates so far in this election," said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll, who went on to note the leading Republican, Donald Trump, has made very controversial remarks, according to some news reports, regarding immigration.

"For about half of likely voting Oklahomans he [Trump] is saying just what they want to hear, and Republicans even trust him more on the issue than the other Republican candidates."

Fifty-two percent of Republicans support deportation, but 41 percent support a path to citizenship. For Democrats, 58 percent support citizenship with requirements, but one-in-three (33.9) percent believe immigrants here illegally should be deported. Independents more closely mirrored Democrats with 40 percent in favor of deportation and 50 percent in favor of eventual citizenship.

"I think both parties in the state will be shocked by these poll results," Shapard said. "Republicans will be shocked to hear that four out of ten Republicans in the state support a path to citizenship, and the Democrats will be shocked to know that one-in-three in their party supports deportation."

[box] Now, thinking about immigration, which comes closest to you view about what government policy should be toward immigrants currently residing in the United States who have come here illegally? [READ AND ROTATE STATEMENTS]

The federal government should identify and deport all immigrants who have come here illegally back to their home country, or we should allow immigrants who came here illegally to remain and eventually become U.S. citizens but only if they pay a fine and meet certain requirements over a period of time.

1. Identify and deport44.02. Remain and eventually become citizens after fine and...48.73. Don't know/Refused [DNR]7.3


Support for deportation starts at 23 percent among those who identify themselves as "very liberal" and increases along the ideological scale to one-in-three self-identified moderates and ends at 60 percent among the "very conservative." Conversely, support for citizenship begins at 65 percent among the "very liberal, then to 56 percent and 36 percent among moderates and the "very conservative" respectively.

Poll results among urban and rural voters were similar to the overall results, but men and women varied in their views of immigration. Fifty-two percent of men believe immigrants here illegally should be deported but only 37 percent of women, while 54 percent of women supported a path to citizenship and only 42 percent of men.

Evangelicals, or those who believe in a more strict interpretation of the Bible, were 10 points more likely to support deportation.


About the Poll, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, asked these questions of Oklahoma likely voters as part of the SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll.

The scientific study was conducted from September 1-15, 2015 with 403 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a dual frame of both landline telephone and cell phones. The sample was weighted by political party and age in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population for a general election.

The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative and attending religious services once or more per week. The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ± 4.88 percent.

This poll not only conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls but exceeds the standard disclosure with a Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report. A complete description of the methodology can be found here.

The poll's Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report can be viewed here. A beta version of the Weighting Table Report can be viewed here.

Madison Grady
About the Author

Madison Grady