Strong support exists in Florida for Republican Gov. Rick Scott's effort to purge illegal immigrants from state voter rolls, according to a new poll.
By a margin of 60 percent to 35 percent, registered voters surveyed by Quinnipiac University's Polling Institute say they back the state voter purge, which has been legally challenged by the Justice Department for appearing to violate the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act. The American Civil Liberties Union has also filed a lawsuit to stop the effort.
Wednesday's poll shows clear partisan backing, with 90 percent of Republicans voicing support for the purge and 8 percent opposed. A majority of Democratic respondents broke the other way, with 60 percent opposing the purge and 33 percent supporting it. The poll was conducted June 12-18 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.
Ethnically, whites were most supportive of the plan, while blacks were least. Hispanics trended slightly in favor of the purge, with 49 percent expressing support and 42 percent opposing it.
Scott has been staunchly defending his effort in the face of criticism that it will disenfranchise legal voters.
The governor revealed last week that he personally dealt with mistaken voter identity when election officials forced him to vote provisionally in 2006 believing he was a voter with the same name as someone who had died.
Scott, who first won election in 2010, remains unpopular overall with state voters who disapprove of the job he is doing by 49 percent compared to 39 percent who approve of it, according to the poll.