Liberals are up to three times more likely than conservatives to support the hiring of foreign workers in place of American workers, according to a new survey by pollster Kellyanne Conway.
Thirty-four percent of liberals, and 26 percent of Democrats, said either that immigrants should be preferred over Americans for jobs, or that they did not know if anyone should be preferred.
In comparison, only 20 percent of moderates, 20 percent of independents and 12 percent of conservatives say immigrants should be preferred, or that they did not know if anyone should be preferred.
The mid-August survey of 1,001 registered voters shows that immigration is a winning issue for Republicans, partly because it is entangled in economic issues, said Conway, founder of the polling company.
“Immigration is an issue unto itself AND as part of an overall economic message,” she wrote in in a campaign memo for GOP politicians seeking tactical guidance during the 2014 election.
“Rule of Law, National Security and Economic Consequences are Compelling, but JOBS is the Primary Motivator for an Awakening (and Action) on Immigration,” she said.
“Five and a half weeks of children at the border, and five and a half years of the Obama economy has crystallized public sentiment,” she said in her survey.
“Leverage that. … Take your case directly to the [voters]. They are listening,” she wrote in her campaign memo. “There is a new open-mindedness to populist approaches, regardless of partisan or ideological preferences.”
“Keep the focus on what you can be for — policies that protect unemployed and low-income American workers from competition with immigrants for jobs, compassion but common sense at the border, encouraging repatriation and poking businesses to hire Americans in need of work,” she wrote.
Conway’s advice to focus on economics — instead of culture or ethnic disputes — matches statements by a growing number of GOP politicians, including Sen. Jeff Sessions and Rep. Tom Cotton, who is running for the Arkansas U.S. Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor.
“It is not our job to get cheap labor for big business, as much as labor might want that,” Rep. Tom Cotton told The Daily Caller Aug. 15.
“By standing up against illegal immigration, and by standing against the [Senate's 2013 immigration bill], I am in fact showing, as so many are, that I care about Americans,” including American Hispanics, Cotton said. (RELATED: GOP Shifts Amnesty Debate To Jobs And Wages)
Overall, 77 percent of the Conway’s likely-voter respondents said Americans should be favored over immigrants. That opinion was shared by 88 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of independents and 78 percent of moderates.
Democrats and liberals were split. Only 71 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of liberals preferred Americans.
Liberals and Democrats also showed far more support for allowing new immigrants to bring in their extended families, not just their immediate family. Current policy allows for the chain-migration of extended families, despite widespread support for policies that accept higher-skilled immigrants.
Thirty-nine percent of liberals, and 34 percent of Democrats favor extended-family immigration, which now provides green cards to millions of low-skilled, Democratic-leaning Hispanics.
In contrast, 23 percent of moderates and 21 percent of independents favor extended-family chain migration.
Overall, 65 percent of registered voters favor the alternative of nuclear-family immigration, which would allow new immigrants to bring in their spouse and children.
The opinion is shared by 75 percent of conservatives, 67 percent of moderates and 69 percent of independents. Democrats were split. Only 49 percent of liberals and 56 percent of Democrats favored nuclear-family immigration.