This nice little nugget of voter sentiment arrived via e-mail from TheLoft.
If President Bush is looking for a legacy, he may have found it. Talk is that the president sees the overhaul of America’s immigration system as his gift to the country… his crowning achievement. It’s hard to believe that the walls of the White House are so thick, that not a single voice from the grassroots is getting through. As seen in GOPUSA’s latest survey, President Bush is losing the Republican base, and the party is suffering because of it.
In a survey conducted this week (view full survey results here) by GOPUSA’s Grassroots Survey Team, respondents were asked to comment on the on-going debate over illegal immigration reform and to indicate their approval of the job President Bush is doing.
Since GOPUSA created the Grassroots Survey Team, we have tracked presidential approval and for all of 2006, the number was relatively high and consistent. In March 2006, survey team members gave President Bush an 81% approval rating. In June of the same year, it was 77%. In September, the rating was 80%, and in October, the rating was 84%.
Then, as the immigration debate resurfaced and President Bush continued to push legislation that is completely counter to the feelings of not only Republicans but the general public, his approval among survey team members has taken a nose dive. In April 2007, presidential approval sank to 65%. But in this week’s survey of over 2,700 respondents, the president’s approval fell to a dismal 40%.
I think it was about a year ago that I and another poster had an argument over the issue that would ultimately divide the country and create enough of a maelstrom to create change. He chose Iraq, I chose Illegal Immigration. I’d love to seem some poll numbers on how those two issues have trended as a ‘priority’ with voters over the last year.
It is startling that the President and some members of the Senate just don’t get it. A recent poll by Scott Rasmussen looked into why the immigration bill failed in the Senate. According to Rasmussen:
The immigration bill failed because a broad cross-section of the American people are opposed to it. Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated voters are opposed. Men are opposed. So are women. The young don’t like it; neither do the no-longer-young. White Americans are opposed. Americans of color are opposed.
But wait! I thought is was just uppity white people with racist motivation that opposed this bill.
The last Rasmussen Reports national telephone poll found that just 23% of Americans supported the legislation. When a bill has less popular support than the War in Iraq, it deserves to be defeated.
Then, Rasmussen, in his discussion of the poll results, hit on a key conclusion that the White House misses (or refuses to see) over and over again.
In the minds of most Americans, immigration reform means reducing illegal immigration and enforcing the border. Only 16% believed the Senate bill would accomplish that goal.
It wasn’t amnesty or guest-worker programs or paths to citizenship that doomed the bill. Each of those provisions made it more difficult for some segments of the population to accept. However, most voters were willing to accept them as part of a true compromise that accomplished the primary goal of reducing illegal immigration.
The key to winning voter support was to accomplish that primary goal.
Rasmussen is right, and the results of GOPUSA’s Grassroots Survey Team support his conclusions. When asked about various areas of the illegal immigration issue, 97% of respondents said that it was “very important” to focus on “border security and reducing the number of people who enter the country illegally.” That number drops to 43% on the topic of “resolving the legal status of the illegal aliens already in the U.S.” Only 18% felt it was “very important” to set up a temporary worker program.
Duncan Hunter hit it on the head in our interview from a couple of months ago. He said the fence is the law, follow the law (in reference to the Secure Fence Act).
Whether current office holders or seekers of office. Whether Democrat or Republican. The policy makers in this country better get it through their thick heads. Americans want our borders and ports of entry secured. Period! Don’t talk to us about other facets of the issue until you accoplish that basic task.
On the flip side, 91% of respondents said it was “very important” to focus on “enforcing employment laws against the hiring of illegal workers.” Respondents also thought it was “very important” (68%) to focus on the issue of “children born to illegal aliens being automatic U.S. citizens.”
The survey team wants border security and employer enforcement. In other words, just as Rasmussen noted, Americans want illegal immigration stopped, yet the White House just doesn’t get it! Even in their latest statement, the Bush administration talks about the dangers of doing nothing to fix the “broken immigration system.” Hello! Right now, the American people don’t care about the overall immigration system. They want illegal immigration to stop! That can be done right here, right now by building the border fence and increasing the number of border patrol agents (under legislation already passed) and enforcing existing employer laws against hiring illegals.
One thing is clear. Republicans are passionate about this issue, and they are willing to take the time to make their feelings known. When asked if they supported the “illegal immigration legislation that was being debated in the U.S. Senate,” 93% of respondents said “no.” In addition, 76% of respondents said that within the last two weeks they contacted their senators and asked them to vote against the legislation.
This fairly well rebuffs the stories in the MSM that Americans, WITH LITTLE ORGANIZATION, helped kill the bill. You folks better wake up.
It’s really simple guys. We want a fence. A law was passed to build that fence. The money was appropriated to build that fence. You guys aren’t building the damn fence. Until you do, expect to here from us.