Forty-eight percent of Americans say their views on immigration reform
align best with the Democratic Party, compared with 36 percent whose
views are closer to the Republican Party, a new poll shows. The gap is
much wider for blacks and Hispanics.
Washington, its fate in the House in question, a new poll shows that
more Americans relate to the Democratic Party’s position on the issue
than to the Republican Party’s.
The Gallup survey, released Monday, indicates that 48 percent believe
the Democratic Party’s policies on immigration and immigration reform
are closer to their own, while 36 percent said the same of the
It is the demographic breakdown within the poll, however, that
provides a caution for the GOP, as members consider whether to nix
legislation providing a path to citizenship for certain illegal
immigrants or to get on board. As Republicans more broadly assess how
to reposition their party nationally in advance of the open 2016 White
House contest, aiming to shake loose the Democrats’ hold on vote-rich
minority constituencies, the immigration issue has grown in political
Some 70 percent of blacks and 60 percent of Hispanics surveyed by
Gallup more closely aligned with the Democrats, with 14 percent and 26
percent, respectively, identifying with the Republican Party. Whites
are split — 41 percent say Democrats’ views come closer to their own,
while 42 percent were with the Republicans.
In its analysis, Gallup notes that the percentage of Hispanics
indicating a preference for Democratic immigration reform policies is
higher than the 51 percent found during the 2012 contest to generally
identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party.
Hispanics were a crucial voting bloc in the past two presidential
campaigns, giving strong margins to President Obama over his
Republican rivals, Sen. John McCain of Arizona in 2008 and former
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012. Their backing helped Mr. Obama
win in key battleground states, including Florida, Virginia, Nevada,
Colorado, and New Mexico.
To see Hispanics moving with marginally more strength toward the party
that currently holds the White House should give pause to Republican
opponents of immigration reform — especially those considering a
future national campaign. The issue has fragmented the GOP, with some
conservatives — namely Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and his state’s
former governor, Jeb Bush — pushing for reform that includes some kind
of a path to citizenship. Others, including Sens. Rand Paul of
Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, have dug in on the issue, voting
against legislation that was passed by the full Senate last month.
Senator McCain, who represents a heavily Hispanic state but who is
also aware of the political importance of the voting bloc, was, of
course, part of the so-called Gang of Eight who crafted the
legislation and backed the bill.
Meanwhile, another voting group that helped carry Obama to victory in
both cycles — young people — narrowly favors the Democrats’ approach
on immigration reform. Gallup shows that among white Americans between
the ages of 18 and 49, 44 percent line up with the Democratic Party’s
immigration policies and 39 percent choose the Republican Party.
Whites 50 and older flipped — 46 percent named the Republicans and 39
percent the Democrats.
It’s worth noting that while the Democrats have an advantage with
Hispanics and young voters, independents — another coveted group come
the nation’s quadrennial contest — were split, with 37 percent
choosing the Democrats and 35 percent identifying with Republicans.
Those with strong Democratic Party or Republican Party identification
tend to side with their own parties on immigration reform.
Those polled who favor tightening border security and requiring
employers to check immigration status of their workers, two signature
Republican issues, are “about equally likely to name the Democratic or
the Republican Party as the one they more agree with on immigration,”
according to Gallup.
House Speaker John Boehner has said his chamber will not take up the
Senate’s bill, suggesting instead that his members might craft a
separate plan that emphasizes stronger border controls. His Republican
members are divided about how to tackle the nation’s undocumented
residents. So it’s not clear if the House will move on any legislation
tackling the matter; agreement on the best steps forward has so far
This past weekend, though, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R)
of Kentucky advised his House colleagues against inaction.
“I’m a big fan of what legal immigration has done for our country,”
Senator McConnell said, mentioning that his wife, Elaine Chao, was
born in Taiwan and served as US Labor secretary under President George
W. Bush. “I hope, even though the Senate bill in my view is deficient
on the issue of border security, I hope we can get an outcome for the
country that improves the current situation. I don’t think anybody is
satisfied with the status quo on immigration, and I hope the House
will be able to move forward on something.”
Gallup’s results were based on a poll of 4,373 US adults; the survey
was conducted between June 13 and July 5. The margin of error is 2
percentage points for the full survey. Due to weighting methods, it is
3 percentage points for results pertaining to non-Hispanic whites, 5
percentage points for results on non-Hispanic blacks, and 6 percentage
points for Hispanics.