The Political Implications Of The Senate Amnesty Bill For The GOP

by John Hawkins | June 6, 2007 2:07 pm

The best, most reliable pollster over the last couple of election cycles, Rasmussen Reports[1], has another poll out on the immigration bill.

Now, some of the other pollsters? Bizarrely, they poll people on parts of the bill, but don’t ask people if they actually support the bill in the Senate. Why? Because they support the bill, but know the bill is wildly unpopular, and they want to try to slant their polls to help it along instead of kill it. In other words, what these other pollsters are doing is dishonest. It’s like asking people if they want a car with wheels and paint job and then, after they say “yes”, wheeling out a vomit green car with 4 tires that are all different sizes and saying, “You asked for this.”

Well, when the American people are asked what they think of the actual Senate bill, they don’t have any qualms about saying that they oppose it,

“Public support for the Senate immigration reform bill has slipped a bit over the past week. A Rasmussen Reports poll conducted Monday and Tuesday night found that just 23% of voters now support the bill while 50% are opposed. Last week, 26% supported the Senate bill while 48% were opposed.

In the face of public opposition, some supporters of the legislation have argued that the compromise may not be perfect but doing something is better than doing nothing. Voters have a different view–a solid plurality believes it would be better for the country to pass no bill at this time rather than letting the Senate compromise become law.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters prefer no bill over the Senate bill. Just 32% prefer the legislative compromise over inaction.

For those in Congress who believe that passing the Senate bill will get the issue behind them, the data suggests otherwise.

If the current bill passes, 69% of voters say that it will “still be necessary to pass another law that focuses on securing the borders and reducing illegal immigration.” The perceived need for further legislation is felt by 78% of Republicans, 63% of Democrats, and 66% of those not affiliated with either major political party. Only 11% of all voters say that additional legislation will not be needed.”

…Public opposition to the bill has already had an impact on Election 2008. Senator John McCain, a leading supporter of the bill, fell to fourth place in the latest Rasmussen Reports poll for the Republican Presidential nomination. Voters in McCain’s home state of Arizona are no more enthusiastic about the bill than voters nationwide. Just 47% of Arizona voters now have a favorable opinion of McCain.

President George W. Bush, a primary backer of the immigration legislation, saw his Job Approval ratings tumble to record lows in May as the debate heated up.”

Now, let’s set right and wrong aside for a moment and talk pure politics.

The GOP had a horrible year at the polls in 2006 and their base, as well as the American public is very down on them. Additionally, George Bush is going to be an albatross around the neck of every Republican candidate in 2008.

So, what is the Republican Party about to do? They’re about to back a bill that is so unpopular with their own base that it will significantly hurt fund raising, lead to primary challenges for senators up for reelection, and will probably peel off millions of potential voters who will stay home or vote for third party loser candidates in protest, rather than vote for the GOP.

Now, that’s what their biggest supporters think. But, the American people also oppose this bill by a more than 2 to 1 margin and most of the energy and passion is on the side of the people who oppose it. In other words, if this bill becomes a law, it’s too early to say for sure how much damage it will cause, but my best guess is that it will probably cost us the presidency, 5 seats in the Senate, and probably 10-15 house seats.

If Jimmy Carter were the Republican President in the White House and Harry Reid was the Senate minority leader for the Republican Party, they couldn’t come up with a plan that would do more damage to the Republican Party than the one that is being implemented right now by George Bush and Mitch McConnell.

And to what end? Making illegal immigration a high priority for the Republican base for the next 8 years as conservatives demand that we try to kill the Z visa program before the illegals have an opportunity to become citizens? Getting a tiny bump from Hispanic Americans that won’t swing any elections in 2008 and will be gone by 2010? Making business owners who vote Republican anyway because the Democrats would tax and regulate them into the ground happy?

Never has a political party given up so much at such great cost to get so little in return. I guess we should just be thankful at this point that Harry Reid hasn’t offered to trade Senate seats for “magic beans,” because if he had, there would be 100 Democrats in the Senate while George Bush and Mitch McConnell would be sitting in the rose garden waiting for the first magic beanstalk to pop up.

  1. Rasmussen Reports:

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