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Colorado Independent: “Hot-button immigration issue” boosts talk radio, not elections

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radioWe’ve all seen immigration play out as the hot-button issue that talk radio hosts love to flog, but today Joseph Boven has a thorough rundown of how immigration is actually playing out in elections — politicians beware.

According to his  piece in today’s Colorado Independent:

While serious discussion of immigration policy reform has been generally avoided for the past year, the politics of immigration have weaved their way through the health care debate as a pet topic on the right, spurring some of the most heated exchanges in blog comment threads, at town hall meetings and, of course, in a joint session of Congress in September, when South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson broke U.S. House decorum by shouting out “you lie” and waving a finger at President Obama for denying that national health care legislation would provide free coverage for illegal immigrants.

According to nonpartisan pollster Floyd Ciruli, however, illegal immigration merely rallies the base. He told The Colorado Independent that relative to other issues, immigration is a fairly stable policy topic. Politicians and voters know where they stand.

“Immigration holds a talk show audience, but it doesn’t move voters by any extent.” In the 2010 elections, immigration is not likely to be a big deal.

This analysis is consistent with what we tracked in the 2008 elections, and the piece is worth reading in its entirety.