Sen. John McCain’s presidential aspirations have taken a massive hit since introduction of the immigration bill he is co-sponsoring with Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy (Photo: NBC ‘Meet the Press’)

Despite a vigorous White House effort to rally support for the immigration reform bill debated in the Senate today, only 22 percent of Americans favor it, according to a new national survey.

Rasmussen Reports said the result is down one point from a couple of weeks ago and down from 26 percent when the bill was introduced.

Fifty percent oppose the Senate bill while 28 percent are not sure.

The plan would provide a path to legal status for the estimated 12-20 million illegal aliens now in the U.S. Opponents call the provision amnesty, because it allows illegals to acquire a “probationary” visa after only a quick, 24-hour background check. The White House contends the carefully crafted compromise would focus first on enforcement, allowing for more Border Patrol agents, more cameras and other technologies.

As WND reported, President Bush has visited Capitol Hill in his efforts to revive the plan, which died in the Senate two weeks ago when supporters could not muster enough votes to put it on a fast track.

The Rasmussen survey showed a bipartisan lack of enthusiasm for the Senate bill.

It has the support of only 22 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of those not affiliated with either major party.

The opposition numbers are similar: 52 percent of Republicans, 50 percent of Democrats and 48 percent of unaffiliateds.

Rasmussen also broke down the results by ideological persuasion. The bill is opposed by 59 percent of Americans who say they’re politically conservative, 54 percent of liberals and 45 percent of moderates.

Rasmussen said just 32 percent believe it would be better to pass the current bill instead of doing nothing. Forty-five percent think it would be better to pass nothing at all.

Rasmussen, noting it was the first polling firm to document broad public opposition to the Senate bill, said its results have been confirmed by an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey and by the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan.

“Even polls touted by supporters of the legislation showed a strong desire for more serious enforcement measures,” Rasmussen said, pointing out a CBS News/New York Times survey found 69 percent of Americans want illegal aliens prosecuted and deported.

Rasmussen has found just 15 percent of voters say President Bush is doing a good or an excellent job on the immigration issue.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has been identified with the immigration bill along with Sen. Ted Kennedy, has seen his presidential poll numbers collapse across the board, Rasmussen pointed out.

“The man once considered the dominant frontrunner for the GOP nomination is now a distant third in the polls and struggling to stay in double digits,” Rasmussen said.

Over the past month, McCain has lost a net 10 points to Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., in general election match-ups.

Just 16 percent of all voters say they would definitely vote for McCain if he is on the 2008 ballot.

Editor’s note: The current edition of WND’s monthly Whistleblower is a cutting-edge look at the federal government’s immigration policies – and how the nation’s most vexing problem can be solved. It’s titled “NATIONAL SUICIDE: How the government’s immigration policies are destroying America.”

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