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Valerie Hennings 2019 mug

Valerie Hennings

SIOUX CITY -- A new Morningside College poll shows Iowans have varying opinions on immigration policy, including  being split on construction of a border wall at the Mexican border, while strongly favoring proposals to hire more border security guards and to set a plan for those living in the U.S. illegally to become citizens if they meet requirements over time.

Additionally, the poll results show Iowans see health care as the most important problem in the state, oppose expanding gambling to include betting on sports and are evenly split over legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

Detailed poll results were published online Wednesday morning by the college on its website.

In a release, Morningside officials showed several questions were related to immigration. Seventy-four percent of poll respondents said they favor developing a plan that allows those living in the U.S. illegally the chance to become citizens if they meet certain requirements over time, while 22 percent oppose that.

More women than men favored such an immigration plan, and 92 percent of Democrats supported that, compared to 60 percent of Republicans favoring it.

On the question of increasing funding to expand construction of a border wall, 50 percent opposed and 46 percent favored that, with women most likely to oppose it.

Seventy-nine percent said they favored increased funding to hire more border patrol agents, while 80 percent favored increased funding to expand the use of border security technologies.

The Trump administration is pursuing increased miles of the border wall and other security measures. Trump has made clear he believes his hard line on immigration was key to his 2016 victory and intends to continue to hammer the issue to motivate his base heading into his 2020 reelection campaign.

The poll, which sampled 774 Iowa adults through automated calls to landline and cell numbers from April 22 through May 9, was overseen by Morningside's Col. Bud Day Center for Civic Engagement. Morningside students, supervised by Valerie Hennings, associate professor of political science, analyzed the survey data from Dynata, which was formerly named Research Now SSI. 

The poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percent. There were several other issues aired in the poll.

-- Top problems: On the question of the most important problem facing the state, 15 percent said health care and 11 percent said education.

-- Sports gambling: 58 percent opposed and 39 percent favored expanding legal gambling in Iowa to include pro sports, and 74 percent opposed expanding gambling to include college sports.

-- Recreational marijuana use: 49 percent opposed legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Iowa, while 48 percent favored it. More men support legalizing recreational use, and people under age 50 polled support it in higher numbers than older respondents.

-- Gov. Reynolds effectiveness: 55 percent said they approve of the way Reynolds is handling her job as governor, and 37 percent disapproved.  Eighty-three percent of Republicans and 26 percent of Democrats approved of her job handling.

-- Flooding response: Rating the satisfaction with the response by state officials to March flooding, 6 percent said they were completely satisfied, 34 percent were mostly satisfied, 31 percent said it was mixed, 11 percent were mostly dissatisfied and 4 percent were completely dissatisfied.

-- Minimum wage: 69 percent said the state minimum wage of $7.25 per hour should be raised and 24 percent said it should be kept the same.

-- School funding: Rating Iowa in regards to the amount of funding allocated to K-12 education, 4 percent said it is excellent, 8 percent said it is very good, 21 percent said it is good, 35 percent cited it as fair and 28 percent said it is poor.

The college is now conducting a poll annually. The first came in May 2018 on topics such as gun laws and the performance of Reynolds and the Iowa Legislature. Hennings said that first Morningside Poll provided useful information to dissect concerning the Iowa landscape as the 2018 midterm elections neared.

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