The American Public Supports English First
Eighty-four percent (84%) of Americans say English should be the official language of the United States. Only nine percent (9%) disagree, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Seven percent (7%) are not sure.
The support for English as the country’s official language remains steady from three years ago.
The U.S. Justice Department has told a major Ohio county to print bilingual ballots for the November election or it will be sued by the government. But most voters believe that election ballots in this country should be printed only in English.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 58% of Likely Voters favor English-only ballots. But this is down 10 points from June 2006. Thirty-eight percent (38%) disagree and say election ballots should be printed in both English and Spanish.
The Political Class is more emphatic. While 68% of Mainstream voters believe ballots should only be in English, 78% of those in the Political Class think they should be available in English and Spanish.
Still, 84% of all voters think English should be the nation’s official language. Just 13% disagree.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters U.S. Voters was conducted on August 11-12, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Three-out-of four voters (75%) also continue to believe that companies should be allowed to require their employees to speak English on the job. Only 16% oppose such a requirement.
Just 12% of voters believe that requiring employees to speak English is a form of racism or bigotry. Seventy-nine percent (79%) reject that notion and believe the requirement is not racist or bigoted.
Both these findings, too, are virtually unchanged from when the questions were first asked in November 2007.
Seventy-six percent (76%) of Republicans and 60% of voters not affiliated with either major party say election ballots should be printed only in English. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Democrats believe they should be printed in English and Spanish.
But most Democrats agree with Republicans and unaffiliated that English should be the official language of the United States. There is little disagreement on this question across all demographic categories.
There is also majority agreement across all groups about requiring English on the job and a common belief that such a requirement is not bigotry or racism.
In the mist of the 2008 campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama said it is more important for American children to learn to speak Spanish than it is for new immigrants into this country to learn to speak English. Voters strongly disagreed, with 83% saying a higher priority should be placed on encouraging immigrants to speak English as their primary language.
In a separate survey at the time, 42% of voters said most government officials encourage immigrants to retain the culture of their home country rather than to fully embrace American culture and society. Thirty-two percent (32%) disagreed. But 83% expressed more anger at the government for the way it handles immigration than anger at the immigrants themselves who are looking for jobs.
With midterm elections less than three months away, nearly two-out-of-three voters (65%) remain at least somewhat angry at the current policies of the federal government in all areas, including 40% who are Very Angry.
Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters oppose the Justice Department’s decision to challenge Arizona’s new immigration law in court. Fifty-four percent (54%) think the Justice Department instead should take legal action against cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Even more think the federal government should cut off funds to these “sanctuary cities.”
Fifty-nine percent (59%) of voters favor passage of a law like Arizona’s in their own state. Most voters (53%) now say it’s better for individual states to act on their own to enforce immigration laws rather than relying on the federal government for enforcement.
Fifty six percent (56%), in fact, believe the policies of the federal government encourage people to enter the United States illegally.
Most Americans still oppose granting U.S. citizenship automatically to children born in America to illegal immigrants.