Friday, December 28, 2007

Stomping on the DREAM ACT: Power by Temper Tantrum

The Houston Chronicle blog "Texas on the Potomac" has a post about people's attitude towards immigration. Even though the issue is plastered all over CNN and other major news outlets, a new George Washington University Battleground Poll found:

"no surge in public concern about immigration. Indeed, the number of people concerned about immigration remained statistically unchanged -- rising from 10 percent to 11 percent -- from July to December [2007]."

If you listen to Romney and certain other candidates you would think this poll is all wrong. However, George Washington University is not Berkeley and is not anywhere close to the most liberal place in the U.S. - Poll results from GWU should be more credible to your average Republican.

If the GWU poll is correct - and I have every confidence that it is - only 11% of the U.S. voters believe immigration is the #1 problem in this country. What a surprise. Listening to Lou Dobbs you would think that immigration is everybody's obsession. If it is only 11% that means a small percentage of voters were those who inundated the Senate during the Comprehensive Immigration Reform debate. Unfortunately, Senators tallied up the number of calls, not how many people were calling... During the debate (which I watched and taped) a number of senators stated that the public had spoken - the fax machines and phones were burning up from so many Americans showing their anti-immigration opinions. I guess they were wrong.

It is sad to think that only a few people who can scream very loud kept the DREAM ACT from being passed. Of course it took a number of senators who lacked courage to accomplish this.

Texas on the Potomac
Houston Chronicle
December 28 2007

Immigration has been the hottest issue on the presidential campaign trail in frigid Iowa, as Republicans try to outmuscle each other in their attempts to portray themselves as the toughest foes of illegal immigration.

Do voters share the candidates' passion for the issue?

The answer, according to a new George Washington University Battleground Poll, the answer is not exactly. But public attitudes are far more complex than the simplistic campaign rhetoric about sealing the borders or deporting people illegally in the U.S.

When voters are asked to identify the number one problem facing this country, 11 percent named immigration, according to a poll of 1,013 likely voters surveyed by Lake Research Partners and the Tarrance Group. Immigration placed third behind the economy and the Iraq war.

The poll finds no surge in public concern about immigration. Indeed, the number of people concerned about immigration remained statistically unchanged -- rising from 10 percent to 11 percent -- from July to December.

While immigration remained a major issue to one-tenth of the electorate, the economy and taxes doubled in importance as the Iraq war dropped as top issue from 23 percent to 13 percent.

So why all the talk in the GOP primary?

The answer: angry men. Twenty-two percent of Republican men consider immigration their top national issue. And since men are more likely than women to attend GOP primaries and caucuses, the top issue of Republican men must remain on the radar screen of would-be Republican nominees.

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said that in an "anxiety economy," immigration could become an important issue to Americans who fear losing their jobs to foreign competition. "You do see some blue-collar voters expressing more concern about immigration," she said.

However, other voting blocs are far less interested in immigration. Only 5 percent of Democrats, 9 percent of independents and 12 percent of Republican women show concern about immigration.

Republicans also must weigh the political cost of alienating Hispanic voters, the fastest-growing demographic group in the country.

In 2006, GOP candidates across the U.S. tried to capitalize on illegal immigration but saw their share of the Latino vote cut in half. "We did poorly in handling the immigration in an effective way and that hurt us among Hispanic voters," said Republican pollster Brian Nienaber of the Tarrance Group.

If his party doesn't change its tone, there could be "angry recriminations" in 2008, Nienaber added. "I don't know if that's going to be the best thing for us in courting the Hispanic vote this fall."

Posted by Richard Dunham at December 28, 2007 12:01 AM

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