The Democrats are still picking up the pieces from Chuck Schumer’s realization that maybe shutting down the government wasn’t such a hot idea, and their supporters in the media are figuring out who to blame. The Washington Post offers a host of possibilities today, ranging from Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnel (naturally) to the Democratic leadership for “losing their nerve.” One wag went so far as to suggest blaming Barack Obama. But under the covers and behind the cloakroom doors, it sounds more like a dose of cold, hard reality was setting in for Schumer.
It had become obvious that the public was catching on to the fact that the shutdown was essentially about DACA. The Democrats wanted to demand their “clean” DACA bill and were willing to shut down the government to get it. But we’ve already heard rumors that their own internal polling was showing the voters souring on that angle in a serious way, probably leading to the Minority Leader’s change of heart. If so, his conclusion is definitely supported by some recent polling which shows that a serious majority of Americans, while they have sympathy for the Dreamers, overall don’t want to see even legal immigration increasing. In fact, they’d like to see less of it. (Free Beacon)
Eighty-one percent of Americans want one million or fewer legal immigrants to the United States per year, according to new polling data released Monday by the Harvard-Harris poll, a number lower than the 1.38 million who came to the United States in 2015.
The plurality of respondents, 35 percent, think that there should be between 1 and 250,000 legal immigrants arriving to the United States per year. A net 12 percent want to see immigration increased to 1.5 million people per year or more, while nine percent of Americans think that there should be no new legal immigrants.
Plurality preference for between 1 and 250,000 new immigrants a year persists across white, Hispanic, and black Americans, as well as moderates and self-identified Democrats. Such a rate of immigration would be lower even than the rate expected from the RAISE Act, a bill backed by the administration and expected to cut immigration in half in ten years.
That new Harvard-Harris poll is available here, and the numbers are stunning. The basic question has nothing to do with illegal immigrants (who the Democrats also champion), but rather those immigrating legally. More than three quarters of the public wants to see the numbers lower than they currently are. The only solid plurality in the poll, in terms of precisely how many immigrants they feel we need to accept each year, wants the number to be less than 250,000 (which is more than a million less than what we’re currently taking in). The tally of people who actually want more immigration – and this is the group the Democrats are basing their electoral hopes on – only adds up to 12%. And that number is only three points higher than that of people who don’t want any more immigration at all.
Chuck Schumer may have some political opinions I don’t agree with (and he’s one of my senators, just for the record), but the man isn’t stupid. He can read a poll as well as the next person. Do you really think that didn’t factor into his decision to back off on the shutdown after it became obvious to one and all that this mess was all about DACA?
One other thing I’m sure Schumer is pondering this week is how this affects the #RESIST movement and their prospects against Trump. We’re once again seeing a situation where a lot of voters may not care for President Donald Trump, but they really do like some of the policies of President Donald Trump. Majorities approve of the wall (even if they’re not sure if they want to pay for it) and most of his other takes on questions of immigration and border security. They like that he’s standing up for the police and veterans. And boy do they like a good tax cut. It should be noted that each of those items are things which the Democrats have been fighting against.
How much longer can that disconnect continue? If you like the majority of the President’s policies, doesn’t it eventually become hard to dislike the guy pushing them, even if you find his tweeting and propensity for political food fights to be offputting? And perhaps more to the point, how much longer can the Democrats maintain their favorable numbers if they are fighting against policies the public supports based solely on the fact that these are things Trump wants? None of this adds up and it just feels like something has to give in the approval ratings game sooner or later.