Fact Check: Do 74% of Californians Really Oppose Sanctuary Cities?

A poll circulating online claims three out of four Californians oppose sanctuary cities. But is the poll legit?

Jon Miltimore | January 26, 2017

A poll circulating online claims three out of four Californians oppose sanctuary cities. But is the poll legit?
Fact Check: Do 74% of Californians Really Oppose Sanctuary Cities?

This morning, a friend sent me a story from a right-wing news site. It claimed that “74 percent of Californians want to end sanctuary cities.”

The statistic didn’t seem to smell right. Seventy-four percent of Californians? The state in which Donald Trump won 33 percent of the vote?

The poll ostensibly had been conducted by UC Berkley, yet one could not help but notice that the article did not link to the poll or share any polling data. It just linked to a different story—which (again) referenced an IGS-UC Berkley poll but contained no actual data. 

Suspicion of the poll's veracity seemed warranted. So I did some sleuthing and discovered the poll in question. The poll, released in September 2015, said this:

The online survey, which polled 1,098 California residents from Aug. 11-26, found that 74 percent of respondents said local authorities should not be able to ignore a federal request to hold a detained person who is in the country illegally. Only 26 percent of respondents said local authorities should have that right.

Opposition to the sanctuary city policies crossed the political spectrum, and included 73 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of independents.

“We found very broad-based opposition to the idea of sanctuary cities,” said IGS Director Jack Citrin, a professor of political science at UC-Berkeley who has studied immigration for years.

So, as it turns out, Californians--Democrats, Republicans, and Independents--are actually more opposed to sanctuary cities than the rest of the United States. A Rasmussen poll taken a few months before the IGS-Berkley poll found that 62 percent of Americans supported the U.S. Justice Department taking “legal action against cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants.”

I found the data on both fronts surprising. The American public appears to hold stronger views against illegal immigration than I had suspected.

On Thursday, Reuters reported that the top 10 U.S. sanctuary cities face $2.27 billion in annual cuts under President Donald Trump’s proposal to block federal funding to cities in which local law enforcement fail to report undocumented immigrants to federal authorities.

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Jon Miltimore is senior editor of Intellectual Takeout. Follow him on Facebook.

[Image Credit: By Jonathan McIntosh (Own work) [CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons]



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