A new survey could ease Republican fears that proceeding with immigration reform would alienate GOP voters.
The poll, conducted by Texas Republican firm Baselice & Associates and paid for by the Michael Bloomberg-sponsored pro-reform group Partnership for a New American Economy, found that there is no measurable drop in voter turnout when comparing the immigration positions of three Texas congressional Republicans. The poll focused on three districts with GOP incumbents: Rep. Sam Johnson, who is supportive of immigration reform, Rep. Lamar Smith, who is against it, and Rep. Kevin Brady, who is on the fence. Support of or opposition to immigration reform didn't impact voter support at the polls, according to the survey.
The results cut against Republican concerns that passing immigration reform will keep their base voters away from the polls this fall, and indicates that the economy and the health care reform law are the key issues driving voters.
“What we saw in the polling was that Texas Republican primary voters weren’t motivated to go to the polls on the issue of immigration reform—for or against. They were far more motivated to vote on Obamacare," said John Feinblatt, who chairs the Partnership for a New American Economy. "But when they were asked their views on immigration reform very specifically, they were overwhelmingly supportive. This strikes directly at the myth that conservative GOP primary voters are anti-immigration reform,”
But despite the findings, it remains incredibly unlikely that lawmakers will proceed with immigration reform before the midterm elections. House Republicans have declined to take up the comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate last year. Immigration reform was the sole policy recommendation from the authors of the Republican Party's so-called autopsy after the GOP's humbling 2012 defeats. The authors argued passage was needed to maintain the long-term viability of the GOP.
The full poll results are below: