Bogus Gallup poll does not show more support for mass immigration legalization

Do the latest results of a Gallup poll (link) show that the public is moving more towards support of mass legalization of illegal aliens? While those with a pro-comprehensive immigration reform agenda might like to think that or make you think that, the answer is no.

Not only that, but Gallup itself is showing their bias by misleading about the interpretation of their own results.

Five times since 2006, Gallup has been asking this question:

If you had to choose, what should be the main focus of the U.S. government in dealing with the issue of illegal immigration - [ROTATED: developing a plan for halting the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S., (or) developing a plan to deal with immigrants who are currently in the U.S illegally]?

In 2006, 52% chose "halting the flow", 43% chose "developing a plan". In the latest poll from this month, that's flipped: 46% chose "halting the flow", 51% chose "developing a plan".

The problem for amnesty supporters is that "developing a plan to deal with immigrants who are currently in the U.S illegally" could mean anything. Some people might have selected that option because they support amnesty. Others might have selected it because they want mass deportations, attrition, or other options.

There's also the impact of the reduced flow of illegal aliens into the U.S.: some may have selected "developing a plan" thinking that border security wasn't as key an issue as it was when the flow was higher.

There's no way to tell what plan respondents have in mind or their specific contexts, so pretending this shows support for mass legalization involves a great deal of mind-reading and willful ignorance.

Not only will the results be used to deceive about increased support for mass legalization, but Gallup itself is misleading in various ways:

1. First, of course, there's the lack of clarity in the question. Obviously, Gallup aren't complete babes in the woods: they know how polls can be used to deceive. Yet, for seven years they've done absolutely nothing about their ambiguous question.

2. The chart at the Gallup link above captions one set of data "Securing U.S. borders", yet that doesn't match up to the question being asked which was "developing a plan for halting the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S."

3. In addition to lacking clarity, the question lies: generally speaking, there's no such thing as "immigrants who are currently in the U.S illegally". U.S. laws define the meaning of the term "immigrant", and if someone is an "immigrant" that automatically implies they're here with our permission. Generally speaking, someone cannot be both an "immigrant" and here illegally. See immigration terminology.

4. The title of the Gallup page is "In U.S., Border Security, Immigrant Status Equally Important" and they say things like the poll "Tilts Toward Resolving Illegal Immigrants' Status". Yet, the word status isn't anywhere in the poll itself. Using the word "status" implies those who chose the "developing a plan" choice want to change the status of those illegal aliens, i.e., legalize them. Yet, that's not what Gallup's own poll asked.

Want to do something about this? First, tweet @Gallup and let them know you're on to them. Second, search for anyone misleading about the poll, and use this post to discredit them.