Republican leaders eyeing immigration reform have been shaken by new polling that shows a majority of their supporters oppose immigration reform, the Dream Act and citizenship.
“The leadership should run from this one,” said a key House leadership advisor.
According to a new YouGov poll, Republican voters are strongly opposed to the so-called “pathway to citizenship,” which some interpret as amnesty even if immigrants have to pay a fine. According to YouGov, 58 percent of Republicans oppose “providing a legal way for illegal immigrants already in the United States to become U.S. citizens.”
It breaks down this way among Republicans: 33 percent don’t want illegals to be given any legal status, 23 percent would grant only temporary residency, 13 percent would grant permanent residency but not citizenship, and 27 percent would create a pathway to citizenship.
Democrats have long supported immigration reform and have been rewarded with votes from legal immigrants, making the issue extremely partisan.
The poll provides more ammo to those in the GOP urging House Speaker John Boehner and other leaders to back away from the issue until after the midterm elections. The Republicans are banking on winning the Senate which will put the GOP in control of both houses and give the party better negotiating power with President Obama.
Undermining the congressional leaders could be the YouGov finding that voters believe that Congress is motivated by politics, not sound policy on the immigration issue.
“The sense that immigration policy is as much motivated by politics as it is by policy is even felt within the parties. Seven in ten Republicans think members of their own party who want to pass immigration reform this year are motivated as much or more by political considerations as by policy thoughts; 56% of Democrats feel that way about Democrats in office who favor immigration reform,” said the poll release.
“And although Democrats hold an advantage over Republicans when asked which party people trust more on immigration, 39% of the public trusts neither party. Most independents as well as 35% of Republicans trust no party on immigration,” added YouGov.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.