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Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., is arrested by U.S. Capitol Police officers on Capitol Hill during a immigration rally in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Only one in eight centrist voters strongly back amnesty, says Obama’s polling firm

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Only one out of every eight centrist voters strongly back an amnesty for illegal immigrants, according to a new poll by President Barack Obama’s 2012 polling firm.

The poll, which was funded by NBC and Esquire magazine, was intended to highlight the political views of non-partisan American voters, but was published on the same day that Obama promised to restart his push for amnesty once the funding impasse is resolved.

“Once that’s done, you know, the day after, I’m going to be pushing to say, call a vote on immigration reform,” Obama told an interviewer from an L.A outlet of the Spanish-language Univision television network.

The nation’s electorate includes a centrist bloc comprised of 51 percent of all voters, claims the two polling firms that conducted the survey, released Oct. 15. The firms were Obama’s Benenson Strategy Group, and Public Opinion Strategies, which was the primary polling firm for GOP candidate Gov. Mitt Romney.

Just 12 percent of these middle-bloc respondents strongly support “providing illegal immigrants with a path to citizenship even though they have broken the rules,” according to a summary printed by Esquire.

Thirty-eight percent of the middle-bloc strongly oppose the amnesty, creating a political minefield for the politicians who need to woo swing-voters.

Twenty percent “somewhat support” the amnesty, while 16 percent “somewhat oppose” the amnesty.

The lopsided poll is significant, in part, because industry and progressive groups are stepping up the pressure on October to persuade the GOP’s House leadership to revive the push for a rewrite of immigration law.

The proposed rewrite has been stalled since the Senate passed a bill in June that would offer green-cards to 33 million people by 2023. The ambitious Senate bill, and especially its plan to import more workers during a period of high unemployment, is strongly opposed by many GOP-leaning voters and by many Latinos, according to numerous polls.

The total support for amnesty in the NBC/Esquire poll is boosted by the support from the two groups of reliable Democratic voters, dubbed “The Bleeding Hearts” and “The Gospel Left.”

The amnesty is strongly supported by 51 percent of the so-called “Bleeding Hearts” group, which consists of hardline leftists and progressives who favor rule by credentialed experts. These groups are eager to import more Democratic-leaning Latino voters, despite the economic impact on blue-collar Americans. Only one fifth of the ‘“Bleeding Hearts” are raising children, compared to one-third of the middle-group and one third of the GOP-leaning Christian group, which was labelled by the pollsters as the “righteous right.”

The amnesty is supported strongly by only 21 percent of the reliable “Gospel Left’ faction, which consists almost entirely of African-Americans.

“The support for affirmative action and immigration reform on the Left is soft—a bare majority supports both causes—while the opposition from the Right is very strong,” concluded a summary article in Esquire.

The two partisan Democratic groups comprise 21 percent of the electorate. The two partisan GOP groups comprise 28 percent of the electorate, according to the pollsters. Roughly 40 percent of the centrist group leans GOP, while 60 percent leans Democratic, according to the pollsters.