Again, here's how they worded their question:
DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THE DECISION BY THE NORTH CAROLINA COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM TO REQUIRE LOCAL COMMUNITY COLLEGES TO ADMIT 18 YEAR OLD ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AND CHARGE THEM OUT-OF-STATE TUITION RATES?The problem with this is that you're giving respondents two reasons to say no. Some people, probably conservatives, might say no because they don't think illegal immigrants should be able to attend local community colleges. Other people, probably liberals, might say no because they don't think the illegal immigrants should be charged out of state tuition rates if they have lived in North Carolina for much of their lives. Civitas set up the question to elicit a specific answer, and they know that.
I think my wording of the question is much more straight forward:
Do you think the children of illegal immigrants, who have attended North Carolina's public schools, should be able to attend the state's Community Colleges?Should folks who have grown up in North Carolina and been educated in our public schools be able to continue their education in our community colleges or not? That's the thrust of the issue from my vantage. You can start addressing other parts of the issue from there but that's the big picture.
It would also be interesting to see the crosstabs on that one. Democratic gubernatorial candidates Richard Moore and Bev Perdue both came out against letting the children of illegal immigrants attend our community colleges. But if 39% of the folks Civitas polled said they agreed with the Community College system's decision, then I would guess that includes a majority of Democrats. Moore and Perdue took what they thought was the politically safe position, and maybe it insulates them in the general election, but they both missed out on an opportunity to show some leadership that would have been popular with voters in the primary.