Well, you can’t say immigration proponents lack creativity or an instinct for the jugular. The American Action Network decided to poll the voters in the district of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), whose odious comments I discussed earlier in the day.
In a memo summarizing the findings, the pollster explained:
As is the case throughout the country, Iowa CD 4 voters place a high level of importance on the issue of immigration reform; with three quarters (74%) indicating they believe this is a very important issue.
Seven in ten district voters (69%) indicate that they favor or support generic “comprehensive immigration reform” and only 17% are opposed. Over two-thirds of Republicans (67%) are in favor of generic comprehensive immigration reform. There is significant support for both pathway options – an earned pathway to legal status without citizenship (68% favor) and an earned pathway to citizenship (65% favor).
Seventy percent (70%) of district Republicans indicate that they favor an earned pathway to legal status, and 51% of Republicans favor an earned pathway to citizenship.
Perhaps a Republican more in tune with the district’s voters should challenge Rep. King in 2014. In any event, when presented with the bullet-point description of the Senate immigration bill, voters’ reaction was “strongly positive, with seventy-nine percent (79%) indicating they would favor the proposal, and only 18% opposed. Approximately 81% of both Republicans and Independents favor this detailed specific proposal.
With knowledge of the specific details of the proposal, only 30% of voters in the district view this proposal as ‘amnesty,’ while 60% believe that it is not amnesty. Even among Republicans, only 36% view the proposal as amnesty, while 54% believe that it is not.”
The components of the immigration bill, including a Dream Act (79 percent) and proposals to increase visas for high-skilled workers and highly educated foreign students (over 60 percent) rated highly, even among “very conservative” voters (75 percent for a Dream Act, for example). But the clincher is the response to this argument in favor of immigration: “Passing this immigration reform legislation would stop President Obama from being able to pick and choose what immigration laws he wants to enforce, like he does.” That got the support of 58 percent of King’s constituents and a remarkable 80 percent of very conservative voters. That stands on its head the objection to immigration reform based on the notion that the president won’t enforce it.
Like so many in the anti-immigrant crowd, King’s views don’t reflect his district. Once other lawmakers figure out what actual voters think, they might understand there is some real upside to passing a bill. And for Republicans thinking of primarying an incumbent, they might consider running on comprehensive immigration reform. It’s quite popular.