Luntz: Immigration Top Reason Voters Left GOP on November 7
by Jonathan Singer, Wed Nov 15, 2006 at 03:18:48 AM EST
We have repeatedly noted the fact that Hispanic voters moved from the Republicans to the Democrats over the past two years at a far greater pace than the general electorate and indeed more markedly than any other voting group in the country. Chris put it best last week when he wrote,
[T]he true dagger came from Latinos who, to the tune of a shocking thirty points, shifted to Democrats more than any other demographic group in the country. This almost certainly because of the hateful, harsh, anti-immigration rhetoric from the conservative base, and refused to even listen to its leaders like Bush and McCain who wanted to adopt a more open approach. This shift accounted for between 25% and 30% of the entire shift to Democrats nationwide, and did not net Republicans any "backlash" gains whatsoever. Considering Latino population growth, that is the sort of dagger that will stick in and cause wounds to fester for a long, long time.
If the topline exit polling data were not sufficient to convince you of the deleterious effects that the GOP's nativist rhetoric and angenda had upon the Party's standing among the broader electorate and Hispanic voters in particular on November 7, Frank Luntz writes up the results of his own polling in The Weekly Standard.
In our Election Night poll, we asked voters which issue most annoyed them about the Republican-controlled Congress. Among the Americans who swung from the GOP to the Democrats (Republican Rejecters), "unethical and illegal behavior going unpunished" was number two on the list (behind illegal immigration). [emphasis added]
I will concede that it's possible that some previously Republican-leaning anti-immigrant voters opted to back the Democrats last Tuesday as a way to indicate their unhappiness with the inability of the Bush administration and the GOP Congress to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the country. I haven't seen the wording of the Luntz survey, so I don't know for sure that that's not the case. Nevertheless, it's hard to imagine that many Minutemen voted for Democratic candidates opposed to, say, the criminalization of providing aid to undocumented residents.
More realistically, though, the Luntz polling indicates that culturally and socially moderate voters joined with Hispanics in leaving the Republican Party in disgust over the increasingly strident tone Republican candidates adopted on the immigration issue. And as Chris put it so well, this bodes extremely poorly for the GOP in the long run.