Democrats Twist and Turn on Immigration as Republicans Attack in Waves
As President Obama and the Democratic Congressional candidates take the stage of the third annual NAACP Image Awards, a new poll suggests the majority of voters want immigration reform and that Americans are increasingly more divided about the issue than they were at the start of 2013. (Photo: AP)
WASHINGTON—When the nation’s racial divide comes into focus, most voters feel the same, even if they’re not always able to pinpoint why, on this issue at least.
As President Obama and the Democratic Congressional candidates take the stage of the third annual NAACP Image Awards, a new poll suggests the majority of voters want immigration reform and that Americans are increasingly more divided about the issue than they were at the start of 2013.
A majority of Democrats support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, while Republicans are divided and more than 2-in-3 of them blame Democrats for pushing the issue. Six in 10 Republicans blame “political correctness” for pushing the issue, though it’s not clear whether that’s why they’re rallying around it politically or believe it will lead to the kind of change they seek.
“This is what a lot of people who call themselves conservatives are really thinking when they say that they’ll never support comprehensive immigration reform, that they’re going to fight it, or they’re going to filibuster it,” said poll co-director Gary Schons. “Those are actually not the attitudes of most of the people.”
The poll, released Monday by Public Religion Research Institute, found that 55 percent of respondents want immigration reform, including about as many as have supported it over the past two decades, and an identical share of Republicans and independents want it.
But it also found that those figures have changed sharply in a year. In October 2012, only 44 percent of Democrats and independents said they wanted reform. The latest poll found only 38 percent of Democrats think the same, while 65 percent of independents say the same. The number who favor comprehensive immigration reform has grown from 16 percent in October 2012 to 27 percent in the most recent poll.
The Democratic candidates’ response to the issue could make a difference, too. A majority of Democrats think immigration reform won’t lead to any change in party policies, while most Republicans think it will.
At the same time, the question of whether “political correctness