Academic: Polls Show Immigration Is a Loser for Democrats
Immigration is a political winner for the GOP because more Republicans care about it more strongly than do Democrats, says an academic who has made a career studying manipulated polls.
“Democratic voters who support immigration simply do not see the issue as important as do the predominantly Republican voters who oppose it … [so GOP] opponents remain more politically influential than supporters,” said a July 14 op-ed in the Washington Post.
Alexander Kustov, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, continued:
Even though more Americans are telling pollsters [such as Gallup] that they support immigration, lawmakers hesitate to tackle immigration policy in ways that would make it easier to enter the United States. My research suggests that they’re right to be cautious. Americans who oppose immigration are far more engaged and active on the issue than are immigration supporters.
In fact, given the increased national attention to immigration over the past decades, the number of people who actively oppose immigration has actually increased.
Kustov’s peer-reviewed study says:
during the time of high contextual salience of immigration in 2016, the numbers were approximately 2% [pro-migration] vs 12% [anti-migration] of all respondents indicating a very large public opinion skew in favor of the anti-immigration cause … [Also,] compared to pro-immigration voters, anti-immigration voters care more about immigration in particular–not politics in general.
This shift against immigration is likely also obscured by poor polls, Kostuv wrote in the Washington Post:
people who agree to participate in surveys tend to be more liberal and more ideologically extreme than the general population. People’s refusal to participate in public opinion surveys has only increased over the past decades. As a result, recent polls may be overestimating increases in pro-immigration views.
However, Kustov’s cautious op-ed sidelined questions about why voters rationally oppose migration.
In fact, he even suggests that the record death toll of migrants at the border should encourage Americans to admit more migrants.
More likely, the rising toll of deaths, drugs, rapes, and economic damage is expected to sharpen public opposition to the federal government’s lethal economic policy of sneaking and smuggling more migrants through the nation’s deserts, immigration laws, mountains, and highways. In recent press conferences, GOP leaders have tried to shame Democrats — and their voters — for helping to create such mayhem.
The civic pressure may influence some of the Democrats who adopted pro-migration views to claim moral superiority over Americans who oppose migration, or merely to comply with social pressure they feel from their Democratic peers.
But Kustov also ignores the role of political donors.
Many national and local business donors are happy to pay legislators to boost the open and covert supply of legal and illegal migrant workers, consumers, and renters to businesses around the nation.
Both GOP-aligned and Democratic-aligned business donors keep pushing proposals to expand migration, so deterring GOP leaders from using their vote to actually reduce the damaging migration.
Donor pressure does push political nominees to adopt positions that are unpopular among their voters, say a 2020 study, “Donors Primary Elections, and Polarization in the United States.”
“Republican nominees’ ideologies appear to correspond only with those of their donors, not with either their primary constituency or their district at large,” the study’s author wrote in a July 12 op-ed for the Washington Post, adding:
Republican donors appear unwilling to back more moderate candidates who might be more viable in the general election. No matter how Republican or how competitive a district is, Republican nominees’ ideologies are strongly related to those of Republican donors.
Democrats seem to be aware that their donors are pushing them to adopt unpopular positions on migration.
For example, Democratic leaders and influential members quietly backed business-backed amendments that would allow Fortune 500 executives to replace many Democratic-voting graduates with cheaper foreign workers.
But those graduates are increasingly vital for Democratic turnout on election day.
The result, so far, is that Democrats have found ways to quietly support the donors’ agenda — but also ensure the agenda quietly dies in complex congressional negotiations, usually without any political fingerprints.
Similarly, many GOP legislators loudly promise to block illegal migration but stay quiet as agency officials smuggle in more migrant workers, consumers, and renters. That two-sided policy was dominant in the GOP before 2016, so allowing Donald Trump to win the nomination with a promise of a border wall and strict enforcement.
Since at least 1990, the D.C. establishment has extracted tens of millions of legal and illegal migrants — and temporary visa workers — from poor countries to serve as workers, consumers, and renters for various U.S. investors and CEOs.
This federal economic policy of Extraction Migration has skewed the free market in the United States by inflating the labor supply for the benefit of employers.
The polls show the public wants to welcome some immigration — but they also show deep and broad public opposition to labor migration and to the inflow of temporary contract workers into jobs sought by young U.S. graduates.
The opposition is growing, anti-establishment, multiracial, cross-sex, non-racist, class-based, bipartisan, rational, persistent, and recognizes the solidarity that Americans owe to one another.