November 24, 2014

Immigration changes draw broad public interest

FT_news-interest-11-23-14President Obama’s executive action on immigration, expanding deportation relief to millions of undocumented immigrants, attracted strong public interest last week.

Overall, 39% of the public say they paid very close attention to news about Obama’s policy allowing certain immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to remain in the country. A third (33%) tracked news about the outbreak of the Ebola virus very closely while about as many (31%) tracked news about the Islamic militant group known as ISIS.

Amid anticipation over a grand jury ruling in the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., 25% say they are following developments in the shooting death of Michael Brown very closely. That is on par with interest in the weeks following Brown’s death in August.

FT_news-interest-fergusonNews interest in Obama’s new immigration policy is nearly as high among whites (37% following very closely) as among Hispanics (45%) and blacks (44%). There are wider racial differences in interest in other stories, notably Ferguson and Ebola. About four-in-ten blacks (44%) tracked developments in the Michael Brown case very closely compared with 25% of whites. And blacks are much more likely than whites to say they tracked news about Ebola very closely (52% vs. 29%).

FT_news-interest-immigration-partisan-splitThere also are partisan differences in interest in several of last week’s stories. Notably, a greater share of Republicans (49%) than Democrats (39%) say they followed news about Obama’s new immigration policy very closely, and Republicans are 14 points more likely than Democrats to follow news about ISIS very closely (44% vs. 30%).

See the topline and full survey methodology.

Read more:

How Obama’s executive action will impact immigrants, by birth country

Immigrants in Western states most likely to benefit from Obama’s executive action

Executive actions on immigration have long history

Topics: News Interest, Unauthorized Immigration

  1. Photo of Meredith Dost

    is a research assistant focusing on U.S. politics and policy at Pew Research Center.