You have to wonder if poll results reflect the true attitude of California voters on the sanctuary state issue when a key component of that debate is not included in poll questions. The recently released UC Berkeley Institute of Government Studies poll revealed support from Californians on the sanctuary issue. However, the questions asked were general and did not reference law enforcement’s objection that they cannot work with federal immigration agents when dealing with undocumented immigrants charged with crimes.

Earlier this month the Public Policy Institute poll questioned whether poll respondents approved of California making its own policies about undocumented immigrants and whether they thought the federal crackdown on the undocumented was a good thing or a bad thing. Results showed that Californians supported the state making its own laws and opposed, barely, the crackdown.

But a main issue raised by local government officials opposed to the sanctuary state law emphasized disruption between local police authorities and federal authorities in dealing with illegal aliens and crime.

The crime issue was not mentioned in the PPIC poll, nor was it part of the IGS poll.

The Berkeley IGS poll found that 56% of the voters supported the sanctuary state law while 41% opposed. Further, a second question asked if local officials proposed to opt-out of the sanctuary law would voters favor or oppose such a move: Favor 42%; oppose 52%.

But neither question mentioned the crime angle that has been raised in the local debates by law enforcement officials and others. The first question in the IGS poll asked about the law limiting cooperation with federal immigration officials who are attempting to deport immigrants.  The second question asked about local officials proposing to opt out of “the state’s new law providing sanctuary for undocumented immigrants.”

The IGS poll’s director, Mark DiCamillo said the questions were drafted early when just a couple of communities had raised opposition to the sanctuary law, so the questions were written in a general way. Further and deeper examinations of the local revolts against state law would present a clearer picture.

One has to wonder how the results might change if the criminal angle or the police cooperation argument are included in future poll questions on the issue.