Green Room

Obama’s panicky pander on immigration

posted at 9:16 am on June 20, 2012 by

The establishment media will tell you Obama’s new non-enforcement of immigration law is a political masterstroke. “It’s a trap! for Republicans, it is written. A flash poll proclaims it’s overwhelmingly popular with likely voters. The WaPo’s Aaron Blake, while adding more nuance than most along the way, stresses the conventional wisdom:

President Obama’s announcement Friday that he would stop the deportation of some 800,000 young illegal immigrants who were brought to this country by their parents isn’t likely to increase his share of the Latino vote much.

But there is still plenty for him to gain: turnout and enthusiasm in a community in which both are severely lacking.

***

And initially at least, it looks as if his announcement Friday has done some good.

A new Latino Decisions poll of Hispanic voters in five key states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia) shows 49 percent say his announcement makes them more enthusiastic about him, versus 14 percent who say it makes them less enthusiastic.

Any polling done so closely to a major decision is likely to exaggerate the bump to some degree, but it’s certainly helpful for Obama (no less because Republicans are tripping over themselves in search of a response).

Although Obama’s announcement is undoubtedly part of a campaign strategy of pandering to and mobilizing the Democratic party’s clients, the conventional wisdom is likely wrong.

As RCP’s Sean Trende explains, Latinos are underrepresented in swing states and after accounting for Florida’s idiosyncratic Cuban Latinos, we are really only talking about Colorado and Nevada. The Guardian’s Harry J. Enten crunched numbers for the states mentioned in the Latino Decisions poll, confirming that Colorado and Nevada are the key states. Enten looked at a better-than-best-case scenario for Team Obama. Noting that in 2008, only 50% of eligible Latinos voted, compared with 64% of the overall population, Enten calculated the gain for Obama if he had registered and turned out Latinos at the 64% rate. He found Obama would have gained only 0.64% in Colorado and a mere 0.37% in Nevada.

Moreover, Enten notes that the GOP candidate would actually win some of those votes and scholars think Latinos will make up the same percentage (or less) of the electorate as they did in 2008. In addition, Trende observes that Obama’s decision potentially alienates other voters. In short, the likelihood that Obama significantly benefits from the new immigration policy is slim at best.

But what about the polls showing how popular the policy is? Here, the establishment is ignoring the concept of intensity (as it often does). As Enten notes, Latinos are more concerned about the economy than immigration, just like everyone else. He later quipped on Twitter:

 

Moreover, I tend to agree with Ed Morrissey that — especially given the very marginal possible benefit — they “fired this gun too early.” Why? Ed implied that Team Obama is getting panicky about Romney’s campaign. In particular, I would note it may have been intended in part to preempt Romney’s Thursday speech before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Florida. Others have speculated it was intended to blunt the impact of an anticipated Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s immigration law. And perhaps one factor might be Team Obama’s desire to give the media a story about their stumbling candidate going on offense. But the reality is that Obama’s latest pander is neither a masterstroke nor going on offense.

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So if it wasn’t a trap, can we put to lie this notion that Romney was a genius for not falling into a trap? Please?

gryphon202 on June 20, 2012 at 9:25 AM

Who knew PBHO was such a failure? Oh, that’s right. Those of us here at HA in 2008 did, minus some trolls we never see anymore.

Manly Rash knew.

NaCly dog on June 20, 2012 at 9:28 AM

gryphon202 on June 20, 2012 at 9:25 AM

The trap that failed to trigger.

thebrokenrattle on June 20, 2012 at 9:36 AM

The trap that failed to trigger.

thebrokenrattle on June 20, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Although Obama’s announcement is undoubtedly part of a campaign strategy of pandering to and mobilizing the Democratic party’s clients, the conventional wisdom is likely wrong.

The way I read this, it wasn’t a “trap that failed to trigger.” It wasn’t a trap at all. Romney’s failure to proactively disavow himself will be seen by many (including myself) as a failure to distance himself from Obama.

gryphon202 on June 20, 2012 at 9:51 AM

Manly Rash knew.

NaCly dog on June 20, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Whatever happened to Manly? I don’t think I’ve seen him here in years.

gryphon202 on June 20, 2012 at 9:52 AM

It will be interesting to see in November if this obvious pander actually did anything to goose Obama’s hispanic numbers. My guess is it won’t. The vast majority of the illegal alien “kids” targeted by his order were never in any danger of being deported in the first place, so Obama’s action doesn’t really help them there. As for the work permits, what good are they in an economy where there are no jobs?

Obama doesn’t really give a damn about illegal aliens, except to the extent that he can use them to advance his own personal interests. I think a quite a few of them are beginning to catch on.

AZCoyote on June 20, 2012 at 10:07 AM

The way I read this, it wasn’t a “trap that failed to trigger.” It wasn’t a trap at all. Romney’s failure to proactively disavow himself will be seen by many (including myself) as a failure to distance himself from Obama.

gryphon202 on June 20, 2012 at 9:51 AM

Distance himself from Obama? I believe that is what Dems are doing to contain the damage that Obama is doing to their party. Romney is sufficiently far enough away from Obama for most voters.

thebrokenrattle on June 20, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Distance himself from Obama? I believe that is what Dems are doing to contain the damage that Obama is doing to their party. Romney is sufficiently far enough away from Obama for most voters.

thebrokenrattle on June 20, 2012 at 11:01 AM

He’s sufficiently far enough away from Obama for most lifelong Republican voters to vote for him. He’ll need more than those true believers, or so says the conventional wisdom. Romney is not sufficiently far enough away from Obama for me to refrain from criticizing him simply for the sake of getting Obama out of office (though I will in all likelihood be voting for Romney).

gryphon202 on June 20, 2012 at 5:51 PM

He’s sufficiently far enough away from Obama for most lifelong Republican voters to vote for him. He’ll need more than those true believers, or so says the conventional wisdom. Romney is not sufficiently far enough away from Obama for me to refrain from criticizing him simply for the sake of getting Obama out of office (though I will in all likelihood be voting for Romney).

gryphon202 on June 20, 2012 at 5:51 PM

So he hasn’t even lost your vote even though you criticize him every chance you get? I think he will do fine then if even critics will vote for him over Da One.

thebrokenrattle on June 20, 2012 at 6:47 PM

This post has been promoted to HotAir.com.

Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Allahpundit on June 21, 2012 at 1:42 AM

So he hasn’t even lost your vote even though you criticize him every chance you get? I think he will do fine then if even critics will vote for him over Da One.

thebrokenrattle on June 20, 2012 at 6:47 PM

Some critics will. Not all of them. If you trust the polls (and I don’t, necessarily), this race could very well be too close to call at this point. Mitt Romney is behaving in many respects as if he has the race all wrapped up. Since I don’t speak for all of his critics, I can only assert that’s a HUGE mistake. He should be campaigning as if he is trying to convince people that currently have no intention of voting for him, and I don’t believe he is.

gryphon202 on June 21, 2012 at 3:18 PM