Over the years, polling in elections has become more accurate. Much to our chagrin, the majority of election polls last year predicted an Obama win in most of the swing states. Issue polling, on the other hand is quite a different story. It all depends upon how you ask the questions, what choices are provided, and the background for the questions. Hence, they are garbage in; garbage out.
Recently, we have seen a torrent of polls showing that everyone is clamoring for amnesty. In fact, the latest poll showed 72% supporting citizenship for illegals. Now, even if you are a supporter of amnesty, ask yourself for a moment, are a majority of Americans on the ground really clamoring for amnesty? Ask any congressman for a district other than the inner city, and they will tell you their constituents want them to enforce the laws.
The Center for Immigration Studies decided to conduct their own poll of 1,000 likely voters in an attempt to phrase the questions in a way that is more attuned to reality. Here are some key results:
- Of likely voters, 52 percent responded that they preferred to see illegal immigrants in the United States go back to their home countries, compared to just 33 percent who would like them to be given legal status.
- There is an enormous gap in intensity between the two views on immigration. Of those who want illegal immigrants to head home, 73 percent indicated that they felt “very strongly” about that view, while just 35 percent of those who want illegal immigrants to get legal status said they felt very strongly about this view.
- One reason the public may prefer that illegals head home is a strong belief that efforts to enforce immigration laws have been inadequate — 64 percent said that enforcement of immigration laws has been “too little”, while just 10 percent said that it had been too much, and 15 percent said it was “just right”.
- When asked why there is a large illegal population in the country, voters overwhelming (71 percent) thought it was because we had not made a real effort to enforce our immigration laws. Only 18 percent said it was because we were not letting in enough immigrants legally.
- Another reason for skepticism about legalization is that most voters (69 percent) agreed with the statement that “giving legal status to illegal immigrants does not solve the problem because rewarding law breaking will only encourage more illegal immigration.” Just 26 percent disagreed.
- When asked if they had confidence that immigration laws would be enforced in the event of a legalization, just 27 percent expressed confidence that there would be enforcement, while 70 percent indicated that they were not confident immigration law would be enforced.
- Enforcement remains politically very popular. Of likely voters, 53 percent indicated that they would be more likely to support a political party that supports enforcing immigration laws vs. only 32 percent who said they would be more likely to support a party that supports legalization.
You can read the wording of the questions here. This all goes to show that if the GOP would only go on offense and rap the Democrats for blowing up enforcement instead of talking about what sort of amnesty they would vote for, this would be a winning issue. As we have already noted, the Arizona election results show how this is a winning message when it is actually tried.
If Republicans plan to live and die by polls, they should make sure they are understanding the results properly.