There are a lot of things Republicans can do to get themselves primaried these days, but embracing comprehensive immigration reform does not seem to be one of them.
A survey taken earlier this month of voters who have a history of voting in Republican primary elections found those “who support comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship, do not run afoul of the majority opinion of their primary voters,” the survey oufit said. “That is true in every region of the country, and in suburban and rural districts alike. It is true with Tea Party voters, social conservatives, fiscal conservatives and moderate Republicans … as well.”
Here are the findings:
–Nearly four in five think the system is broken and something must be done to fix it. That includes 75.4 percent of the Tea Party supporters polled as well as 78 percent of those who watch FOX News daily.
–More than 70 percent support something along the lines of the Gang of 8 proposal.
–Nearly 73 percent support a pathway to citizenship, even though nearly 90 percent believe comprehensive legislation won’t lead to increased border security.
–More than 70 percent support increased legal immigration for those with advanced degrees or skills in math, science, engineering or technology.
–Nearly 57 percent support increasing the number of low-skilled immigrants allowed to enter to work in agriculture, construction and service industries.
The surveyors said about one in five GOP primary voters oppose most elements of immigration reform. “This minority tends to be vocal, but their level of activism should not be confused with the size of their numbers. The large majority of primary voters see a badly broken immigration system and want it fixed. Most Republicans are willing to support a pathway to U.S. citizenship, provided that several conditions are met, including criminal background checks, learning English, paying fines and waiting a period of years.”
In other words, the legislation the Senate approved could use some fixes – elimination of E-Verify tops on the list – but it is not that far from what Republican voters say they want.