Politics
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)

Amnesty is a vote-killer for GOP, says WashPo poll

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

A new poll by the Washington Post shows that amnesty is a vote-loser for GOP legislators.

The poll of 1,002 adults shows that pluralities of independents and moderates oppose candidates who support amnesty, which was euphemistically dubbed “a path to citizenship” by the poll designers.

The poll showed that 41 percent of independents and 37 percent of moderates were less likely to vote for an amnesty-backer.

Only 28 percent of independents and moderates said they were more likely to vote for a candidate who backs amnesty.

The poll showed legislators’ support for amnesty inflicted a 12-point penalty from registered voters, 28 points from white people who did not go to college, 14 points from middle-class people who earn between $50,000 and $100,000, and even a few points from college grads, people who earn over $100,000 and people who earn less than $50,000,

The poll also showed that the GOP’s opposition to amnesty doesn’t lower their one-in-four support among Latinos.

Thirty-six percent of Latinos say a vote against amnesty would be welcome or would make no difference.

In 2012, GOP candidate Mitt Romney won 26 percent of the Latino vote. That’s the same proportion of Latinos who trust GOP legislators to do a better job on immigration than Democrats, the poll reported.

Sixty-one percent of Latinos told the pollsters that they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who opposed amnesty.

Opposition to amnesty was even stronger among the GOP’s base. Sixty percent of Republicans and 63 percent of conservatives would be less likely to vote for a candidate who endorsed amnesty, the Washington Post’s poll reported.

Only 14 percent of Republicans and 10 percent of conservatives said they would be more likely to endorse a pro-amnesty candidate.

In comparison, 20 percent of Democrats and liberals, 24 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats, 12 percent of liberal Democrats, and 27 percent of post-grads, said they would be less likely to endorse an amnesty supporter.

But the Washington Post poll didn’t ask respondents about the some of the most important aspects of the immigration debate, like the joint effort by progressives and business groups to increase immigration and the inflow of guest-workers.

For example, a bill passed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte’’s judiciary committee last summer would allow companies to hire workers from a new population of up to 750,000 foreign workers. That’s enough workers to provide roughly 20,000 guest-workers each for Ohio and Virginia.

The Senate bill, passed in June, would double the current inflow of 650,000 non-agricultural guest-workers. The current inflow has created a resident population of roughly 800,000 university-trained guest-workers who compete for jobs sought by the roughly 800,000 Americans who graduate with skilled degrees each year.

The Senate bill would also double the annual inflow of immigrants to 2 million per year for the next decade, and also provide an amnesty for the almost 12 million illegal immigrants estimated to be in the country.

Polls show strong opposition to the guest-worker programs.

Sixty-nine percent of GOP respondents, 71 percent of tea party people and 65 percent of likely voters who “somewhat disapprove” of Obama oppose the award of work-visas to 500,000 foreign workers, according to a recent Rasmussen poll.

The inflow of guest workers is supported by only 23 percent of Republicans, 21 percent of tea party people, and 20 percent of people who “somewhat disapprove” of Obama.

That’s roughly 3 to 1 opposition among GOP and swing-voters.

A 2011 poll of 1,000 adults by the Washington Post showed that 63 percent of GOP leaners, and 59 percent of adults, opposed a proposal by companies who “say they can’t find enough highly-skilled Americans… to increase the number of visas for foreign workers with advanced degrees in math, science and engineering.”