How The Public Really Breaks Down On Illegal Immigration

Hilariously, RNC strategist Matthew Dowd is trying to claim that Americans absolutely love the Senate’s amnesty plan and they hate the House’s plan:

“Dowd’s memo says that an internal RNC poll conducted by Jan Van Louhuzen finds that “overwhelming support exists for a temporary worker program. 80% of all voters, 83% of Republicans, and 79% of self-identified conservatives support a temporary worker program as long as immigrants pay taxes and obey the law.”

More, from the RNC internal poll: “When voters are given the choice of other immigration proposals, strengthening enforcement with a tamper-proof identity card (89% among all voters, 93% among GOP), various wordings of a temporary worker program (the highest at 85% among all voters, 86% among GOP), and sending National Guard troops to the border (63% among all voters, 84% among GOP) score the highest among both all voters and Republican voters.”

Also: “Voters don’t consider granting legal status to those already here amnesty.”

Suddenly, Bush’s selection of Harriet Miers and his strong, early support of the Dubai Port deal makes sense: he must have had these guys doing the polling. Whom did they poll to get these results? The staff members in John McCain, Mike DeWine, and Arlen Specter’s offices?

In all seriousness, if I were a politician and a pollster came to me and told me that the polling data showed America and Republicans were wildly enthusiastic about the Senate’s plan and were cool to what the House wanted to do, I’d fire him on the spot for incompetence…but, let’s face it, this is about selling the Senate’s plan to the House, not about real numbers any way.

I’ve seen a lot of polls, worded a lot of different ways, and I have a very good feeling for what the public as a whole really thinks about illegal immigration.

1) Their top priority is enforcement, enforcement, enforcement. They want to put a stop to illegal immigration, they don’t want to increase the number of immigrants coming to the US, and they want the border secured. The intensity level here is absolutely off the charts.

2) When it comes to guest worker programs and amnesty, a majority of the public could probably be convinced to go along with it if they believed condition #1 would also be fulfilled. However, overall, the intensity level is generally weak.

A majority of average Americans would probably support a guest worker program or “earned legalization,” but they also wouldn’t be terribly bothered if every illegal had to go home or if there were no guest worker program. When it comes to the people who get hot and bothered about those issues, on one side are some Hispanics, some liberals, and businesses that depend on illegals. On the other side, you have people who adamantly oppose allowing illegals to benefit from their lawbreaking in any way, shape, or form. Out of these two groups, neither makes up a majority, but the people who oppose “earned legalization” are the significantly bigger group.

3) The public doesn’t really believe that the Federal government wants #1, but they’re absolutely convinced the government wants #2. That’s why they’re very concerned that they’re going to be promised #1, but are actually going to mainly get #2.

It’s like a banana split with a cherry on top. Yes, people might like the cherry on top, but that’s not really why they’re interested in getting a banana split and they certainly don’t want a slice of banana and a teaspoon of ice cream covered with a pile of cherries.

What the members of the House need to remember is that right now, they’re the ones who are much more in line with what the public wants than Bush and the Senate. So, if there’s going to be a deal, it’s not going to be even steven, the Senate is going to have to move 90% of the way towards the House. If the Senate doesn’t want to do that, fine, because Republican Congressmen are better off saying that they refused to give an inch on securing the border and putting an end to illegal immigration than they are running on an amnesty bill that the public and the base will despise.

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