Americans are as divided over President Obama’s immigration lawsuit as they are over the immigration itself. Americans oppose the suit against Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration by a ratio of 50% to 33%, according to a new Gallup Poll.

“Emotions run high on both sides of the issue,” Gallup reported. “The substantial majority of those in favor and those opposed to the lawsuit say they feel strongly about their position.”

The poll also reflects “a partisan divergence,” according to the Gallup report: “Almost 8 out of 10 Republicans are opposed, while 56% of Democrats are in favor. Independents tilt toward opposition.”

The Arizona law basically gives law enforcement officers more authority to ask people about their citizenship. Obama said the measure could encourage racial profiling, though the lawsuit filed by his Justice Department argues only that Arizona infringed on federal responsibility for policing the border.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, said her state had to act because the federal government has failed to stop illegal immigration.

This is Gallup’s “bottom line” on the immigration poll:

The fact that Americans are more likely to oppose than favor the federal government’s lawsuit against Arizona’s controversial immigration law is in line with previous polling showing that Americans generally favor the Arizona bill. This means the Obama administration is sailing against the tide of public opinion in its efforts to block the law, although members of Obama’s own party certainly support the administration.

The political implications of the lawsuit are difficult to predict with precision at this juncture. Republican leaders will hope that reaction against the lawsuit generates more support for GOP candidates running on an anti-administration platform, while Democrats may hope that the lawsuit solidifies support among Hispanic voters in key congressional districts and states with close Senate and gubernatorial races.