White House

Immigration puts Obama at political risk: NBC-WSJ poll

President Barack Obama is entering risky political territory with the executive action he plans to take on immigration this week, according to a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll.

President Barack Obama speaks at the Global Health Security Agenda Summit at the White House in Washington, Sept. 26, 2014.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

The poll shows that Americans broadly share Obama's goals for immigration policy. Some 57 percent of Americans favor creation of a pathway that would allow those in the country illegally to eventually become U.S. citizens. That includes a 55 percent majority of whites, 64 percent of African-Americans and 69 percent of Latinos. Seven in 10 say they favor conditioning that pathway on payment of fines and back taxes, as well as security background checks.

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But just 38 percent say they favor Obama taking executive action without receiving approval from Congress. Whites disapprove by 55 percent to 34 percent. Even Latinos are split on executive action, with 43 percent in favor and 37 percent opposed. African-Americans favor executive action by Obama by a 65 percent to 12 percent margin.

The telephone survey of 1,000 adults, conducted Nov. 14-17, carries a margin for error of 3.1 percentage points.