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Democrats Gain By Addressing Immigration Head-On

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New Polling in Moderate-Conservative States Shows Confidence in Dems to Handle Immigration Grows After Issue Debate

Washington, DC – New polling released by America’s Voice in moderate-to-conservative states shows that comprehensive immigration reform remains more popular than enforcement-only alternatives – even after subjecting reform proposals to the toughest “amnesty” attacks.  Conducted by Hart Research Associates in AR, CO, MO, and OH, the poll also demonstrates the importance for Democrats to address the immigration issue head on.  Public confidence in Democrats’ ability to handle the immigration issue grows after voters hear the details of a comprehensive reform plan, the related attacks, and subsequent debate over the issue.

On a conference call earlier this week to release the poll, Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice noted, “We put immigration reform up against toughest attacks in toughest locations and it still won.  While many Republicans in these states think it’s good politics to be tough on immigration enforcement and many Democrats may think it’s better to not lean into the issue, these results show the opposite is true.  Voters are looking for solutions on immigration and support proposals and politicians willing to address and solve the problem.”

Among the notable findings:

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Stands Up to Toughest Attacks:  The plan was described as an Obama/Democratic plan and subjected to very strong Republican criticisms throughout the survey.  After equal exposure to criticisms and Democratic responses, voters in these states support reform by a solid 14-point margin, with clear majority support in Colorado, Missouri, and Ohio, while Arkansas voters are evenly divided.  Specifically, the comprehensive approach was subjected to a variety of Republican attacks, including:

  1. “Amnesty”: comprehensive reform wins over an “amnesty” attack 52%-39% overall and by 54%-37% in Colorado and 55%-32% in Ohio.
  2. “Border security first”: comprehensive approach preferred to “border security first” approach by a 51%-40% margin overall and by a full 20-point margin in Ohio and 17 points in Missouri.

Legal Status is the Plan’s Strongest Provision, Not a Vulnerability:  The most convincing reason to support comprehensive immigration reform, according to 51% of the respondents, is that “immigrants will be required to get legal and pay their fair share of taxes,” vs. 21% who say it “cracks down on employers” who hire undocumented workers and only 15% who like the plan because it “improves border security.”

Democratic Plan Improves Dem. Brand Through Debate:  Democrats start with a 12-percentage point deficit on “which party do you trust on immigration?” After describing reform proposals and related party positions, Democrats end with a 4-percentage point advantage – a 16-percentage point swing.

Guy Molyneux, Partner at Hart Research Associates, “In every state, confidence in the Democrats to handle the immigration issue grows considerably and Republicans’ standing on the issue declines after voters hear the reform plan and subsequent debate.”

Link to PowerPoint Presentation of New Polling: http://www.americasvoiceonline.org/HartSurvey

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform