July 25, 2013

THE BELTWAY VS THE PARTY:

On Immigration, Tea Party's Bark Is Worse Than Its Bite (GABRIEL ARANA, JULY 25, 2013. American Prospect)

[T]he conventional political explanation for Republicans' opposition is that they fear primary challenges from the Tea Party, which strongly opposes granting citizenship to the undocumented.

But several new polls undercut that narrative. The first, from FWD.us, shows that only 20 percent of Republican primary voters oppose immigration reform. The vast majority--65 percent--favor reform that includes a path to citizenship so long as it comes with increased border security. While the level of support varies with how polling questions are worded, another poll from the American Action Network, a center-right advocacy organization, shows that even a majority of "strong Tea Party supporters" favor granting "legal status" to the undocumented if they "pass a criminal background check, pay a fine, pay current and back taxes, learn English, go to the back of the line in the application process, and are not allowed to receive any taxpayer paid benefits." That's a lot of caveats, and "legal status" is different from full citizenship, but it shows Tea Partiers are less opposed to reform than their representatives in the House. [...]

The most startling bit of evidence that Republicans are overestimating the opposition from their base comes from another poll from the American Action Network recent poll of voters in Representative Steve King's district. King is among the fiercest opponents of immigration reform in the House and is currently under fire from his Republican colleagues for saying that for every child of an undocumented immigrant who grows up to be valedictorian, "there's another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert." Not only do 65 percent of general-election voters in his heavily conservative district support a path to citizenship for the undocumented, 51 percent of its Republican constituents do as well.

Posted by at July 25, 2013 6:37 PM
  

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