New TechNet Survey: Americans Support High-Skilled Immigration Reform

Home » New TechNet Survey: Americans Support High-Skilled Immigration Reform

In conjunction with its annual CEO fly-in to Washington, DC that took place on March 14, 2013, TechNet released a new survey showing there is a strong desire among U.S. likely voters to have an open and flexible immigration system to embrace highly skilled workers. Furthermore, the study demonstrates broad support for R&D, corporate tax reform and more federal government focus on science, technology, education and math (STEM) education.

The survey — conducted for TechNet by Zogby Analytics – shows that:

  • Americans See Shortage in High Tech Workers: 63% of likely voters believe that the U.S. faces a shortage of high skilled workers and that immigration policy should encourage highly skilled workers to stay in the country.
  • Support for Immigration Reform Legislation: Additionally, 56% of Americans support the Immigration Innovation Act (I-Squared), which proposes using fees from visas for high skilled workers to fund a grant program that promotes science, technology, engineering and math education and worker retraining.
  • Americans are also worried that we may be losing our global edge in innovation as nearly 43% believe the next major technology or innovation product will come from China while only 30% believe this discovery will come from the United States.
  • Support for STEM Education: An overwhelming majority of Americans (77%) expressed their support for increased spending STEM education, while a majority of those polled (56%) strongly support using visa related fees to fund more STEM education. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans (58%) do not believe the federal government spends enough on promoting STEM education.
  • Americans Support Reform of Corporate Taxes: 70% believe the U.S. tax code should put American companies on an equal footing with their foreign competitors. At the same time, three in four Americans (74%) also support simplification of corporate tax rates to help businesses stay more competitive in the global economy and a strong majority (62%) agrees that reduced corporate tax rates will lead to more hiring.

The survey came just before TechNet Day, the organization’s annual CEO fly-in to Washington, D.C., on Thursday, March 14, 2013. TechNet CEOs and executives delivered a clear message on the importance of high-skilled immigration reform to the country’s economic strength and competitiveness. TechNet Day featured an inaugural Politico CEO Roundtable Breakfast on “Ideas on Innovation and Growing the Economy,” featuring the following executives: John Doerr, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers; Weili Dai, co-founder of Marvell Technology Group; John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco; Steve Case, Chairman and CEO, Revolution and Co-founder, America Online; Charles Scharf, CEO, Visa. During the fly-in, TechNet CEOs and senior executives held meetings with President Obama and other senior administration officials, as well as meetings with Congressional leaders from the U.S. House.

Other highlights from the study include:

  • Federal Government Role in Innovation. A slim majority of Americans (50.3%) believe the U.S. federal government is not doing enough to ensure that the nation remains the global leader in technology and innovation. In contrast, just 39% believe the federal is doing enough.
  • R&D Merits Strong Support. Over three quarters (77%) of respondents support (somewhat or strongly) more federal support for corporate R&D programs.
  • America Going Mobile. Roughly 43% of American households have more than 4 mobile devices. Nearly 6% have more than 8 mobile devices in their homes.
  • Tech Improves Our Lives. One third of Americans (33%) feel that technology has “very much” improved their productivity at work and a large majority (79%) feel strongly that it improves communications with friends and family. Nearly seven in ten (67%) believe technology has given them more freedom to express personal opinions.
  • High Marks for Tech Industry. An overwhelming majority of the public (88%) holds a somewhat to very positive opinion of the technology industry. In contrast, the public holds the most intensely negative views of the oil & gas industry (27%), financial services industry (14%) and healthcare industry (13%). A strong majority (65%) of respondents feel the technology industry has a positive impact on the country.
  • CODE for Opportunity. Nearly three in four Americans (74%) support the CODE initiative, a program started by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg that aims to allow every child in school to have the opportunity to learn the use of computer programming code.

Zogby Analytics was commissioned by TechNet to conduct an online survey of 1,000 U.S. adults. The survey was conducted from March 4-5, 2013 with a margin of error of +/- 3.2%. More details about the survey can be found here.

“This survey clearly shows that Americans know that technology and innovation is central to our economic growth and job creation,” said Rey Ramsey, President and CEO of TechNet. “Americans strongly support smart policies to reform our high skilled immigration system and address the shortage of workers with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. Most importantly, our citizens are eager for reform and urge Congress to act now.”