Arizona Voters’ Agenda: Voters Want Functioning Border for Commerce and Immigration; Building a Wall Not a Priority
Big Question for Candidates: “How do you define a functioning border for commerce, and what is your vision for immigration reform?”
Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) today released its immigration findings as the final topic unveiled on the Arizona Voters’ Agenda, which identifies what likely voters in the General Election want to hear about from candidates as they campaign for their votes.
Immigration has been one of the most talked-about issues so far in Arizona’s Primary Election. The Arizona Voters’ Agenda survey findings demonstrate that voters care the most about supporting Arizona's long-term well-being and success, with priorities that include creating a functioning border for commerce and immigration, enacting comprehensive immigration reform, and creating a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and Dreamers who were brought to Arizona as children. They also believe that immigration will ultimately strengthen our economy and promote border security and did not prioritize building a wall on the border of Mexico.
“There's a dominant yet misleading narrative around political division and partisanship regarding immigration. But the fact is that most Arizonans agree on many key priorities on this topic, even though some would have us believe otherwise,” explained Dr. Sybil Francis, President & CEO of CFA. “Our research shows that voters hold a highly nuanced understanding of the relationship between immigration, a healthy trade ecosystem, and the future prosperity of our state.”
In all, 87% of likely voters support a policy priority of “Creating a functioning border for commerce and immigration.” Support included 84% of Republicans, 90% of independent/unaffiliated voters, and 89% of Democrats.
Voters also expressed high levels of support for immigration reform efforts that provide pathways to citizenship. In fact, 81% of likely voters support a policy priority of “Enacting comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship,” as well as a sizable 83% who support “Creating a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and dreamers who were brought to Arizona as children.” Both policy positions carry super-majority support across all political affiliations.
“These findings of the Arizona Voters’ Agenda reiterate findings from prior CFA research that shows Arizonans are open to real and comprehensive immigration reform. We saw strong support for immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship, including for DACA recipients, in CFA’s Gallup Arizona Survey in 2020,” said Dr. Francis. “Candidates have an opportunity to provide leadership and real solutions on this priority– not only because likely voters care about it, but also because most Arizonans see it as vital to our long-term quality of life and our state’s economic success.”
Voters clearly understand the relationship between immigration and Arizona’s future economic prosperity, with 81% agreeing with the value statement, “Immigration reform will ultimately strengthen the country. Mexico is Arizona's largest trading partner; we need to get serious about supporting comprehensive immigration reform because it will strengthen our economy and promote border security.” This includes 73% of Republicans, 88% of independents/unaffiliated voters, and 92% of Democrats.
The Arizona Voters’ Agenda survey covered a wide array of issues and topics, and some did not make the list of priorities for Arizonans. To be included on the Arizona Voters’ Agenda, a majority of all likely voters must “strongly support” the issue, and majorities of every political and age segment must “strongly or somewhat” support the issue. This methodology ensures the Agenda reflects the views of the electorate that cuts across age and party lines, making the topics essential to the Primary and General Elections.
While it has been a major focus of some campaigns in this election, the survey revealed that “completing the wall on the border between the United States and Mexico” did not make the list of priorities for voters. It did not reach the level of support among likely voters necessary to be included in the Arizona Voters’ Agenda.
“Voters just don’t see building a wall as the solution. They want a comprehensive approach to achieving border security and economic success that includes immigration reform and creating a functioning border for commerce. Polarizing rhetoric and scare tactics will not cut it with this general electorate. They want to see progress on immigration reform and have been asking elected leaders for this for far too long,” concluded Dr. Francis.
The Arizona Voters’ Agenda points to essential questions for moderators, citizens, voters, and others to ask candidates as they are competing for votes. Begin with at least one big question based on the data showing where Arizonans have the strongest agreement: “How do you define a functioning border for commerce, and what is your vision for immigration reform?”
About the Arizona Voters’ Agenda
CFA is focused on bringing Arizonans together around a positive agenda based on where they agree on priorities to move the state forward and realize The Arizona We Want. The Arizona Voters’ Agenda was launched as an extension of CFA’s survey research efforts to identify and create The Arizona We Want.
CFA has analyzed the statewide survey data to determine which issues make the cut for the Arizona Voters’ Agenda based on:
- a primary threshold, the number of likely voters that “strongly agree/support” is 50% and above,
- and a second threshold of the sum of “somewhat agree/support” and “strongly agree/support” (i.e., Total Support/Agree) is 50% and above among every political party (Republican, Independent/Undecided/Other, and Democrat) and age group (20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-64, 65+).
The Arizona Voters’ Agenda – Immigration
Creating a functioning border for commerce and immigration.
Creating a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and dreamers who were brought to Arizona as children.
Enacting comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship.
Immigration reform will ultimately strengthen the country. Mexico is Arizona's largest trading partner; we need to get serious about supporting comprehensive immigration reform because it will strengthen our economy and promote border security.
Political and age group breakdowns are available at ArizonaFuture.org/ArizonaVotersAgenda.
About the Survey
The N=500 survey was conducted among likely voters from April 12 through 19, 2022. The poll surveyed likely Arizona 2022 General Election voters who have a history of electoral participation and was balanced to model the likely turnout of voters across party, age, region, and gender. The live interview survey of voters was conducted in English and Spanish by HighGround Public Affairs to landline and cell phone users. Based on previous midterm election trends, the partisan advantage was set at +8% GOP. The margin of error is ±4.3%.
The Arizona Voters’ Agenda initiative is supported in part by Arizona Community Foundation, Helios Education Foundation, Pharos Foundation, Rodel Foundation of Arizona, Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation, and Southern Arizona Leadership Council. CFA also coordinated with Education Forward Arizona, who conducted an additional poll to gain deeper insights into likely Arizona voters’ priorities on education. The findings are available at educationforwardarizona.org.
About Center for the Future of Arizona
Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that brings Arizonans together to create a stronger and brighter future for our state. All of CFA’s work is to ensure that the public values Arizonans share are realized for all by shaping and advancing The Arizona We Want–a shared vision of success where all Arizonans, now and in the future, thrive and enjoy sustained prosperity, unmatched quality of life, and real opportunity. Learn more at arizonafuture.org.