If you trust public-opinion polling, then Arizonans aren't the hard-asses about illegal immigration that they're portrayed to be.
According to a new poll from the Merrill/Morrison Institute -- which found earlier in the week that the race between President Obama and eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney is a "toss up" in Arizona -- 73 percent of the state supports the DREAM Act.
The DREAM Act, in the basic sense, allows undocumented youngsters who graduate from college or complete military service to become citizens of the U.S. of A.
The poll says just 7 percent of Arizonans take the Russell Pearce route of saying they "strongly oppose" such legislation, while another 15 percent simply opposed it.
"While strong support for the Dream Act among Hispanics comes as no surprise, it is more important to note that 7 out of 10 Anglos also support it," Morrison Institute research director David Daugherty says in the poll's release. "These findings largely contradict the common impression that Arizonans are anti-Mexican immigrant."
Elected officials in Arizona haven't been so hot on the thought for the most part, but that's apparently not representative of their constituents, if this poll is indeed representative.
Still, Bruce Merrill, a longtime figure at Arizona State University who directed the poll, says he isn't surprised.
"While we know that 60 percent of the voters in Arizona generally support SB 1070, it is obvious that illegal immigration is a very complex issue," Merrill says in the release.. "For instance, we have found in other polls that 75 to 80 percent of Arizonans want tighter border security but at the same time, a majority also support a citizenship track for families that have lived here for a number of years, many of whom have children who are United States citizens. So it is not really surprising that we found support in this poll for the Dream Act."
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The support is apparently across the board for the people interviewed for the poll, as a "majority" of Republicans, Democrats, independents, and "others" said they supported the DREAM Act.
Note to Wil Cardon: That might be part of the reason calling Jeff Flake "Mr. Amnesty" for being "the Washington poster boy for a pro-amnesty liberal immigration policy" isn't sending him on a rocket ship in the polls for the Senate race.
As for details on the poll, of the 488 people polled, about three in five were in Maricopa County, and 36 percent said they're Republicans, 30 percent Democrats, and 34 percent are registered independents or "other."