While Politico assures us that illegal immigrants receiving a pathway to citizenship is popular with the electorate, their newest poll could indicate that American’s patience with the never-ending flow over the southern border is ending. From today’s Politico Playbook:
Forty-three percent of voters overall believe that undocumented immigrants who are currently living in the U.S. should have a pathway to citizenship — down 14 points since January. Among Democrats, support for a pathway dropped from 72% to 57% over that period; just one in four Republicans backed the idea, down 10 percentage points.
Looking at the crosstabs, it appears the poll oversampled Democrats. Among respondents, 42% identified as Democrats, 27% as independents, and 31% said they were Republicans. By contrast, Gallup’s most recent poll on political affiliation has independents as the largest group at 41%, Democrats at 32%, and Republicans at 26%. Likewise, the self-reported ideological skew is significantly off from the general population. According to Gallup, conservatives are the largest group at 36%, 35% identify as moderates, and only 25% call themselves liberal. One-third in the Politico/Morning Consult poll identify as liberal.
This assessment is only worth mentioning because the poll may underestimate Americans’ current views on a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. One consistent theme is that men, regardless of other factors, support a pathway to citizenship at lower rates than women. Millennials and Generation X also support it at rates lower than Baby Boomers. The only generation that approves at a rate higher than 50% is Generation Z, whose oldest members are 24 and only started to vote in 2015. This finding makes sense because those who identify their occupation as “student” have a similar approval rate for a pathway to citizenship, higher than any other occupation.
It often seems as if Democrats attempt to use their stance on immigration as a pander to Hispanic voters to cover for their “demographics is destiny” beliefs. Unfortunately for them, the poll confirms, as is often pointed out, that approving of illegal immigrants is not a majority view in that population. With the top line at 43%, Hispanic voters only support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants at 44%. Hispanic voters also prefer deportation for illegal immigrants at a rate of 24%, which is higher than that sentiment among black voters, where only 10% registered that preference.
Voters most concerned about the economy and security have the lowest appetite for a pathway to citizenship along with those without a college degree. Income does not seem to make as big a difference, with only 42-44% expressing a preference for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants whether they report income of less than $50,000 or over $100,000. The notable political affiliations where deportation is preferred to legal residency are Republicans and ideological conservatives as well as ideological moderates and men whose party ID is independent. These groups may be driving the top-line results, where 27% prefer deportation of illegal immigrants to legal residency.
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While Politico asserts that these results are a sign that Republican messaging about the crisis of illegal immigrants at the border is working, the evidence for that view is pretty thin. Only 50% of registered voters believe there is a crisis at the border, and the ideological split is stark. Among Democrats and those who lean Democrat, only 31% see the current border situation as a crisis. Republicans and those who lean to the right report this view 75% of the time. The message does not seem to be reaching across the aisle, despite the corporate media’s recent criticisms.
This poll is not the only one to show that Americans’ patience with a porous border is reaching its limit. Rasmussen polling reports that their Immigration Index has fallen 20 points on a scale of 100 since October 2020. Respondents answered the poll from February 28th to March 4th, and the result is the third consecutive survey establishing a new record low. A result above 100 indicates Americans want a more expansive immigration system. Results below indicate support for a more restrictive immigration system.
Rasmussen also found that 67% of likely voters view the situation at the border as a crisis. Likely voters in Rasmussen’s polls go through a set of screening questions to determine their propensity to vote in midterm elections. When asked about accountability for the border crisis, likely voters said:
If there is a border crisis, whose fault is it? Fifty-three percent (53%) of voters agree with the statement: “President Biden himself … has caused the [border] crisis with both his rhetoric and his policies.” That’s a quote from column last week by former Trump administration official Ken Cuccinelli. Thirty-eight percent (38%) of voters disagree and 10% are not sure.
Any way you cut these results, it is a problem for the Biden administration. It will be difficult for them to satisfy the radical left, which is driving the Democrats’ legislative priorities given the view of moderate and Republican voters on the border and illegal immigrant questions. Democrat politicians on the border are also nervous. Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) released photos of the migrant facilities to Axios to highlight the crisis, and two more Democrats from border districts have announced their retirements ahead of 2022. President Trump flipped several border counties in November of 2020, and Republican candidates down-ticket may fare just as well in the area if this crisis persists.