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    WALL STREET JOURNAL: Public Warms to Bush Immigration Stance

    Republicans Are Unlikely to Benefit in November Amid Weak Poll Results for Congress, President
    By JOHN HARWOOD June 15, 2006; Page A4

    WASHINGTON -- Add this to the list of things that have gone right lately for President Bush: Americans appear to be drawing closer to his view on the immigration debate.

    But that hasn't alleviated the squeeze on Republican candidates in the fall elections. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that the party's conservative electoral base remains at odds with broader public opinion on the issue, including sentiment of the nation's swelling Latino population.

    By 50%-33%, the survey shows, Americans support the views expressed by President Bush and also by businesses, Hispanics and Democratic leaders: that steps to strengthen border security should be combined with a guest-worker program for prospective immigrants and those who have been in the U.S.
    for at least two years. Yet a 44% plurality of conservatives back an agenda combining border security and deportation of illegal immigrants -- making it difficult for Republican politicians to embrace the majority opinion.

    1 "¢The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll2 "¢Track Bush's approval ratings3
    On immigration, President Bush "is where the American public is," says Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who helps conduct the Journal/NBC survey. "The difficulty is, the base of the Republican Party is marching in the other direction."

    Moreover, conservatives are disproportionately likely to say immigration will be important to their vote. Among Americans calling immigration a top-tier issue, 72% say they are more likely to back a candidate seeking a fence along the Mexican border, while just 37% say they are more likely to support one who favors a guest-worker program.

    Mr. Hart's Republican counterpart, Bill McInturff, adds that the guidance Republican lawmakers will take from the findings is "don't blink" from the tough border-security position staked out by the House in negotiations with the more-moderate Senate. Yet that strategy could prove self-defeating, if it sinks prospects for a compromise, because the poll also shows that conservatives will be most upset if Congress doesn't act. The survey of 1,002 adults, conducted June 9-12, has a margin for error of 3.1 percentage points.

    Republicans and Mr. Bush are both ill-positioned to suffer further political setbacks. The poll, conducted before Bush adviser Karl Rove was cleared of potential charges in the Central Intelligence Agency leak case but after U.S. forces killed Iraq's al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi, showed Mr. Bush's overall job-approval rating essentially unchanged at 37%.

    Optimism about the war edged up slightly, with 53% of Americans saying that Mr. Zarqawi's death would improve the situation in Iraq at least a little. But Americans no longer share the president's assertion that "I made the right decision" to go to war in the first place.

    A 53% majority calls attacking Iraq "the wrong decision," while 41% side with Mr. Bush.
    A 61% majority called things in America "off on the wrong track," more than twice the 27% who said things are headed in the right direction." Approval of Congress remained at an abysmal level -- 23% -- while Americans sided with Democrats on most opinion measures. By 49%-38%, respondents said they want Democrats rather than Republicans to control Congress after November's elections.

    The contours of individual congressional districts make it difficult for Democrats to translate such advantages into the 15 seats they need to recapture control of the House; Democrats must gain six seats to regain a Senate majority. But the poll suggests that Republicans' 2006 woes are both broad and deep.

    By 51%-36%, Americans say they worry less about a different Democratic direction than about the possibility that Republicans remain in power and keep the same policies. And they prefer Democrats by a wide margin on issues such as health care, gasoline prices and the economy, while traditional Republican advantages on values and terrorism have shrunk.

    Five months before Election Day, Democrats also enjoy an edge on voter intensity. Some 60% of self-described Democrats expressed a very high level of interest in fall elections, compared with 52% of self-described Republicans.

    One early source of solace for the president's party is that such a differential didn't fuel outsize Democratic turnout in last week's special House election in California won by Republican Brian Bilbray. In part, that may be because neither of America's main political parties currently enjoys a good reputation. While the Republican Party is viewed negatively by 47%-34%, so is the Democratic Party by 39%-35%.
    "Somebody has to win this," Mr. McInturff says. But "if there were a 'none of the above' option, people would seriously consider it."
    The economy -- an issue Republicans, as the governing party, hoped to capitalize on -- is providing little traction. Reminded of a host of positive statistics on job growth, overall growth and tax cuts, just one in four Americans say those reflect their personal view of the economy.

    Even among Americans earning more than $75,000 a year, just one-third embrace the positive view. The top economic concerns cited by respondents: health-care and education costs, gas prices, the federal budget deficit and inflation.

    Mr. Bush has fared better in the debate over immigration, which now trails only the Iraq war as a top-priority national issue for voters as a whole. Among Republicans, it outranks even Iraq in importance.

    The survey indicates that Mr. Bush has achieved his goal of "a civil debate" on the issue, despite the cultural, social and economic passions aroused by the presence of 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. In December, Americans by 53%-37% said immigration hurts the country more than it helps.

    Today, despite predictions of a backlash from demonstrations this spring demanding immigrants' rights, the public is more evenly split. Some 44% say immigration helps the country, while 45% say it hurts.

  • #2

    Think god the american people are compassionate individuals. What would the world be with nothing but a bunches of arrogants people that thinks american citizenship is a right only reserve to them and their ancestors.


    • #3
      We will see just how much they support them this November.


      • #4
        The only group that is upset is the conservative base..After that, the nation is united...Democrats shouldnt have any problem with their base.


        • #5
          If the democrats do not win the house this election they are in deep trouble. I don't think there has ever been a time when they had so much going for them then righ now.


          • #6
            Sugarpuff u r right on the money!! Vote republican!! I am ready to vote and so are my family members and friends. These illegals think they have it wrapped up but the American people will show once and for all.


            • #7
              POLLS POLLS POLLS....

              Tired of it.......

              Stop dreaming it won't happen..


              • #8
                Whatever must happen will happen, but it would be so much better if it happened sooner than later.