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The Gazette KCRG
Posted December 15, 2011
Polls suggest Iowa caucusgoers favor Gingrich immigration plan

Immigration is getting a disproportionate amount of attention in the race for the 2012 presidential nomination and the rhetoric used by candidates is likely to chase voters away, according to organizations supporting what they call “commonsense” immigration reform.

Republican presidential hopefuls have, for the most part, taken a hard line on immigration reform, saying the law should not be changed until the borders are secure.

Natt Barreto

Nearly two-thirds of voters say that’s an excuse for doing nothing, according to Matt Barreto of Latino Decisions and a University of Washington political science instructor.

On the other hand, an analysis by The Center for American Progress Action Fund of a variety of polling suggests that voters – including Iowa caucusgoers – are open to something akin to a proposal by former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich to create a pathway to citizenship – with conditions attached — for some longtime illegal aliens

They found 58 percent of all registered voters support a pathway to citizenship if they meet certain requirements, such as paying any taxes owed, said Lynn Tramonte of America’s Voice.

Lynn Tramonte

In a conference call with reporters Dec. 15, she said polls found 34 of potential caucusgoers and 38 percent of likely caucusgoers said Gingrich’s immigration plan is a major reason to support him. Only 16 percent of potential caucusgoers and 15 percent of likely caucusgoers see it as a major reason to oppose him.

Neither Tramonte nor Barreto endorsed Gingrich or his plan.

“It’s got a lot of flaws,” Tramonte said, “but what’s different is that he’s saying, “let’s get real.’”

Polling also shows that what Barreto referred to as “mean-spirited” rhetoric on immigration turns off voters, especially Latinos who are a growing voting bloc.

Another poll found 41 percent of voters say negative rhetoric on immigration makes them less likely to support a candidate even if they agree with them on their plans for the economy – the top issues for voters.

Historically, between 25 percent and 33 percent of the electorate has opposed immigration reform, Tramonte said.

She cited several polls showing that a majority of Americans support reform that create a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States.

“That’s completely disconnected from the way politicians and pundits in Washington report this issue,” Tramonte said. “It turns out that the purveyors of conventional wisdom aren’t that smart. They want easy answers, they want yes-no, black-white, either- or.

“But on immigration issues,” Tramonte said, “it’s not like that.”

Voters, she said, want smart enforcement of immigration laws and reform.

“They know we’re not going to deport 11 undocumented residents and their families and quite frankly they don’t want to live in a country that would do that.”

Polling also shows that what Barreto referred to as “mean-spirited” rhetoric on immigration turns off voters, especially Latinos who are a growing voting bloc.

Another poll found 41 percent of voters say negative rhetoric on immigration makes them less likely to support a candidate even if they agree with them on their plans for the economy – the top issues for voters.

Only 25 percent said they are more likely to support that candidate.

One Response to Polls suggest Iowa caucusgoers favor Gingrich immigration plan

  1. Well I can say that I do not support it. if people came her illegally they need to get in line (last) and apply legally. I don’t care how long they have been breaking the law. I would go one step further and black list illegals so they can never get legal status just a guest worker pass. See we don’t want to “legalize” law breakers. If they were willing to break the law and come here illegally, no telling what other illegal acts they are OK with committing. There are 7 billion people that want to come here and we need to be very selective and not just let a bunch of illiterate law breakers in under amnesty.

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