How CBS immigration poll misleads (legalization, amnesty, Cirilli, Mataconis, Moran)

If I said we should require all illegal aliens to leave, what would you say? I'd imagine most people would laugh and say, "how? Illegal aliens shouldn't be here in the first place. It's not like we could wave a magic wand and 'require' them to leave."

And, that explains why a new immigration poll from CBS News misleads (link).

It purports to find a whopping 71% of Americans supportive of some kind of legalization program for illegal aliens, but it arrived at that figure through deceptive means.

Here's the question that was asked ( ):

Which comes closest to your view about illegal immigrants who are currently working in the U.S.? 1. They should be allowed to stay in their jobs and to eventually apply for U.S. citizenship. 2. They should be allowed to stay in their jobs only as guest workers,but not to apply for U.S. citizenship. OR, 3. They should be required to leave their jobs and leave the U.S.?

51% chose the first, 20% the second, and 24% the third.

A better form of the third choice would be something like, "We should increase immigration enforcement and decrease incentives in order to encourage illegal aliens to return home over time" (note: see attrition for that plan).

If they'd asked that, don't you think the other two choices would have been selected by fewer people? It's hard to tell because almost all immigration polls are like this one: designed to deceive. However, for a hint at the correct answer, imagine how many people would support the opposite of attrition: decreasing enforcement and increasing benefits to illegal aliens.

Please contact the following sources that take the poll at face value and thus show yet again that they aren't credible:

* Kevin Cirilli of Politico ( , @kevcirilli)

* Doug Mataconis of Outside the Beltway ( , @dmataconis )

* Rick Moran of American Thinker ( , @rickmoran_rwnh )

UPDATE: Another who presents the poll at face value:

* Niraj Chokshi of National Journal ( , @nirajc )