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New Battleground Polling: Solutions for Dreamers Plus Offer Democrats a Way to Lean In on Immigration This Cycle

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New Battleground Polling from Hart Research and BSP Research for the Immigration Hub and SEIU Shows Democrats How to Address Immigration and Border Issues in the Midterms

Washington, DC – New polling from Hart Research and BSP Research of battleground voters in key Senate states and House battleground districts, conducted for the Immigration Hub and SEIU, underscores the strong public support for legislation to protect Dreamers and why the GOP hostility toward Dreamers is a potential vulnerability for Republicans.

The majority of Americans, led by Latinos, support Dreamers and long-settled undocumented immigrants, leaving only GOP base voters as the outlier. 

  • 65% of battleground voters polled (78% of Latino battleground voters) want Congress to act “to protect Dreamers if a federal court overturns the DACA program.” 
  • A separate question found that 70% of battleground voters, including 82% of Latinos, 76% of swing voters, 76% of moderates, and 74% of independents, support legislation with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
  • The poll also included a Latino voter oversample and found, “while immigration is not the number one issue for Latino voters, there is a critical segment of Latinos for whom immigration is a compelling personal issue, and it will be a motivating issue to get them to the polls.”  

Last night, the Biden administration issued a new rule designed to codify the popular and successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Yet, as we highlighted yesterday, Republicans are engaged in a full-throttle effort to end DACA and threaten Dreamers with deportation. Republican state Attorneys General have been relentless in seeking to end DACA in the courts; Republican-appointed judges have been hostile to DACA and related initiatives for years; and Republican members of Congress have repeatedly blocked citizenship legislation for Dreamers in Congress. 

How Democrats can engage on Republican border attacks and broader immigration issues in midterms. 

While battleground voters in the poll initially trusted Republicans more than Democrats to “handle the immigration issue” by a 48-40% margin, that margin shifts substantially “if Democrats respond aggressively on the immigration issue, and go on offense against Republicans,” per the poll summary.

  • Of note, 65% of battleground swing voters support Democrats’ “balanced” border approach, described as follows: “The best approach to our southern border is smart border management that processes migrants in a fair, orderly, and humane way, while cracking down on drug smugglers and human traffickers.” 11% of swing voters move toward Democrats after hearing this message. 
  • The researchers say, “flipping the political script by bringing the debate back to legal status for qualified immigrants is particularly important for appealing to persuadable voters.” After exposing voters to Democratic vs. Republican messages on immigration and attacking GOP vulnerabilities over family separation, embracing hateful attacks on immigrants that encourage white nationalists, and deporting long-settled immigrants, battleground voters swing back toward Democrats. The GOP’s initial eight percentage point edge declines to just two points overall – and even more dramatically among swing voters.

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:

“DACA protections and citizenship for Dreamers and other long-settled undocumented immigrants are incredibly popular across the country. It’s a point of consensus for most Americans and an issue that divides Republicans and exposes their cruelty and lack of solutions.

Outside of the extremist MAGA base, immigration ranks very low in importance for most voters this election cycle. Democrats should feel confident in going back on offense – standing up to Republican lies, cruelty and conspiracy theories, and supporting popular values-based policy solutions.”