Half of Georgians see immigration as good for the country

Athens, Ga. – Fifty-three percent of the state’s adult population believes that immigration is generally a good thing for the country today; 70 percent says that immigration has been a good thing for the United States in the past, according to the most recent Peach State Poll, a quarterly survey of public opinion conducted by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. In regards to the level of immigration, 11 percent of the Georgia public believes that it should be increased, 32 percent believes it should be held at its present level, and 48 percent believes that it should be decreased. 

On a series of questions about the economic and cultural impact of immigration, Georgians’ attitudes in the summer of 2006 are very similar to those found in December 2001.  The one notable difference is that the public’s perception that most new immigrants are here illegally has increased to 64 percent from 51 percent in December 2001. 

Other Peach State Poll results:

  • Americans, in general, are more likely than Georgians to see immigration today as a good thing and less likely to prefer that the level of immigration be decreased. 
  • While only 28 percent of Georgians say that they are irritated by people speaking Spanish in public places such as stores or parks, 41 percent are bothered by signs and advertisements in Spanish. 
  • Half of those surveyed (51 percent) disagree with the argument that the roads would be safer if illegal immigrants could get driver’s licenses. 
  • A majority of Georgians (52 percent) believe that immigrants settling in the state are taking jobs that no one else wants; only 29 percent believe that immigrants are taking jobs from Georgians.  The views of the majority more closely align with a recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center that found that immigrants have not injured employment opportunities for native Georgians. 

These data were taken from a Peach State Poll survey conducted between June 16-27, 2006. The poll included 803 telephone interviews of randomly selected adults in Georgia. For a sample of this size, the margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is +/-3.5 percent.

The Carl Vinson Institute of Government, a public service and outreach unit of the University of Georgia, has as part of its mission to provide policymakers with systematic, objective research to inform policy decisions. In accordance with that mission, the Peach State Poll aims to give voice to the public on important policy matters and issues pertaining to political, social and economic life in Georgia.

For more information on this survey or other Peach State Poll results, see www.vinsoninstitute.org/peachpoll.

Figure 1: Percent of Georgians Agreeing with Statements about Immigration