MTSU Poll: Most Tennesseans support citizenship for ‘dreamers,’ limited marijuana legalization

Press release from Middle Tennessee State University

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Solid majorities of Tennessee voters express support for immigrants in the country illegally, especially the so-called “Dreamers” who were brought to the country as children, according to the latest MTSU Poll.

In other results that may raise eyebrows, a broad majority of Tennessee voters support at least limited marijuana legalization. Even 51 percent of self-identified evangelical Christians surveyed say they support legalization for medicinal use.

Strong support for immigrants, especially “Dreamers”

When asked about people who immigrated to and are currently living in the United States illegally:

  • 55 percent of Tennessee voters say they should be allowed to stay in the country and apply for citizenship
  • 33 percent say those immigrants should be required to leave
  • 4 percent say they should be allowed to stay, but not be allowed to apply for citizenship
  • The rest say they don’t know or refuse to answer the question

Nearly identical results emerged when the MTSU Poll last posed the question, in February 2017.

When asked about immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children — some of whom qualify under the currently contested Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, policy and who are sometimes referred to as “Dreamers”:

  • 75 percent of Tennessee voters say these immigrants should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship
  • 16 percent say they should be required to leave
  • 6 percent say these immigrants should be allowed to stay but should not be allowed to apply for citizenship
  • The rest say they don’t know or refused to answer the question

Views on immigration track closely with opinions on President Trump. Fifty-one percent of those who approve of the job Trump is doing as president say immigrants residing in the country illegally should be required to leave, while 74 percent of those who disapprove of the job Trump is doing say they should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship.

But when asked about immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children, even 60 percent of Trump supporters said they should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship, while 93 percent of those who disapprove of Trump’s job performance say they should be allowed to do the same.

Trump recently tweeted that “DACA is dead,” blaming Mexico for allowing immigrants to illegally cross into the U.S. and Democrats for failing to act on the issue.

“Immigration continues to be a nationally politicized issue for Tennessee voters,” said Dr. Ken Blake, director of the MTSU Poll. “But even among those who approve of President Trump, who has taken a hard line on the issue, most believe that those brought here as children should be allowed to stay.”

Tenn. voters support marijuana legalization, but differ on extent

Meanwhile, when asked about marijuana legalization:

  • 81 percent of Tennessee voters say it should be legalized to some degree
  • However, only 37 percent say it should be legal for personal use;
  • And 44 percent say it should only be legal for medicinal use.
  • 16 percent say it should remain entirely illegal.

A bill to legalize marijuana for medicinal use in Tennessee failed to advance out of the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee when it was withdrawn by its sponsor, Republican Steve Dickerson of Nashville, on April 3.

“If we assume that Tennessee voters who support legalization for personal use would also accept legalization for medicinal purposes only, there is a broad majority who support legalization in at least a limited form,” said Dr. Jason Reineke, associate director of the poll.

Religious identification best explains differences of opinion on the marijuana issue. Fifty-six percent of the Tennessee voters surveyed describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians. Of this group, 51 percent say marijuana should be legal for medicinal use only. Among those who say they are not born-again or evangelical Christians, 52 percent say marijuana should be legal in Tennessee for personal use.

The scientifically valid poll of 600 registered Tennessee voters reached by Issues & Answers Network Inc. interviewers via randomly selected cell and landline phone numbers was conducted March 22-29 and has an error margin of 4 percentage points. The poll is supported by MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment as well as by the School of Journalism and Strategic Media.

For more information and for previous poll results, visit http://mtsupoll.org.

10 Responses to MTSU Poll: Most Tennesseans support citizenship for ‘dreamers,’ limited marijuana legalization

  • John Wilkings says:

    I don’t believe this poll or any poll. Polls are simply released to make news, not report the true feelings. Ask Hillary about polls.

  • James White says:

    There are Lies, then Statistics and then Polls. Thank goodness we are a Republic and Not a Democracy.
    Send all Illegals Back and No Dope.

  • Stuart I. Anderson says:

    I’m afraid too many people are ill informed so they don’t fully understand the ramifications of the opinions they emotionally form. There are approximately 124,000,000 people in Mexico and another 47,000,000 in Central America 90+% of whom would be better off living in the USA. Exactly how many of these people would these geniuses like to welcome into this country and support? Have we caught the West European disease and, like them, no longer really have the will to culturally survive?

    I would like to console myself with the thought that this is a poll taken by liberal academics with liberal results so this really shouldn’t “raise eyebrows” at all.

  • Lance Persson says:

    The PERSSON poll contradicts the MTSU poll. I have yet to talk to anyone that supports illegal immigrants. Wonder if MTSU’s poll included any US citizens
    .

  • Steve L. says:

    Why is a poll conducted by MTSU considered a “scientifically valid poll”? Not sure what that even means. Clearly poll accuracy with regards to future voting is a science that MTSU has not mastered. Like most MSM “wishful polling groups” MTSU missed the Trump MAGA wave. BTW, I am a “send all illegals back” and “save our kids from the dope” kinda fellow myself. I never get polled.

  • TommyRay McAnally says:

    I want the illegal immigrants gone. These types of individuals are breaking the tax payers of Tennessee. I will deport all illegals, guaranteed! I wifi legalize recreation marijuana. GUARANTEED! Also, Teachers get ready your pay it will be equal to all other Teachers nation wide GUARANTEED!

  • Randy Hendon says:

    I do not talk with many people who support the Open Borders we have today.
    True – most of the groups and associations I have membership in are more moderate to
    conservative- but even the Men on my Softball team want the Wall to be built! – Almost to a man.
    The support for in state tuition at Tennessee schools for Dreamers is even weaker! Not sure if polling
    is the best program/ academic venue at MTSU.

    PS. Ain’t no way Bredesen has a double digit lead over Marsha Blackburn either!

  • Donna Locke says:

    This is not in line with other polls I’ve seen.

  • Darryl says:

    mtsu… Who is KIDDING who… NO WAY IN HELL do we want dreamers to be legalized… SEND them packing to where ever they came from and PAY to get legal the RIGHT way — i have heard lots of money and many years!!!

  • President Trump must be effective Views on immigration track closely with opinions on President Trump. Fifty-one percent of those who approve of the job Trump is doing as president say immigrants residing in the country illegally should be required to leave, while 74 percent of those who disapprove of the job Trump is doing say they should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship.

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