April 9, 2007


Dems Face Immigration Hurdle, Too (Ben Smith, April 9, 2007, Politico)

[A] closer look shows that concern about immigration seems to burn almost as brightly for liberal Iowa caucus-goers as it does for the Republicans and conservatives with whom it is traditionally identified. And Democrats are also being forced to address the emotional edge of an issue that has become part of the lives of voters in even the most homogenous parts of the country. Whether any Democrat will attempt to gain an advantage by tapping into these currents within the party, or whether they'll remain unified around proposals to offer illegal immigrants access to citizenship, remains an open question.

"Chicanos from Mexico are a presence in a lot of moderately sized and smaller towns in Iowa and other parts of the Midwest," said Steven Schier, a professor of political science at Carleton College in Minnesota. "That gives it (the immigration issue) an immediacy that it didn't have 10 or 20 years ago."

A University of Iowa poll of 1,290 registered Iowa voters, set to be released this week, found that about 40 percent of Democrats identified immigration as a "very important" issue, with nearly every voter surveyed saying it was either very or somewhat important. About 60 percent of Republicans called the issue "very important."

"It's a surprising number," pollster Dave Redlawsk said of the Democratic total. "The impression out there is that this is more of a Republican issue, and there isn't a Democrat who is running on a hard-core immigration position. But what the poll suggests is that there's broad interest in what's going on with undocumented immigrants."

The poll has another surprise, however. Redlawsk found that a majority of both Iowa's Democrats and Republicans -- given the explicit option in the poll -- would prefer to see what they called "undocumented" immigrants pay fines and learn English but stay in the country. Only about one in five Democrats, and a quarter of Republicans, favored mass deportation.

What is there to be surprised about? The Right minds them for reasons of ethnicity, the Left for reasons of culture, but, this being America, few mind them much.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 9, 2007 7:19 PM
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