Will Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) run for re-election next year supporting Florida workers by supporting the RAISE Act? A survey by Pulse Opinion Research has found that all components of the bill are strongly favored by Florida's "likely mid-term" voters, including those who have voted for the Democratic incumbent in the past.
Unfortunately, Senate Democratic leaders have indicated that they expect all Democrats to continue to insist on adding at least one million new immigrants with lifetime work permits every year to compete for U.S. jobs. Sen. Nelson will have to decide whether to stand with Florida workers and the RAISE Act or with his political party and the businesses that insist on foreign labor to hold down wages.
In next year's election, Sen. Nelson will be answering to Florida voters who polled 64% to 22% in favor of cutting legal immigration from the current one million a year to a half-million or less. That reduction is what would happen under the RAISE Act, introduced by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) with Pres. Trump at the White House this summer.
The NumbersUSA-commissioned poll indicated that going against the RAISE Act and significant cuts in legal immigration not only would go against the desires of the overall Florida electorate but also among Sen. Nelson's base of voters who have supported him in the past.
Among likely mid-term voters who said they have cast ballots for Sen. Nelson in the past, 59% said they want legal immigration cut to a half-million or less, while 29% said keep it at a million a year or more.
Of those Nelson supporters who called for reductions, a quarter said cut to 500,000, almost half said cut to 250,000 and almost a third answered that they would prefer zero legal immigration.
Support for the RAISE Act reductions is even higher among demographic groups that are seen as holding a lot of the all-important swing voters who will be deciding close elections next year.
Here is the split in favor of immigration cuts to a half-million or lower vs. those in favor of a million or more:
- 57% - 27% Independents
- 57% - 29% Moderates
- 71% - 18% Catholics
- 66% - 27% Union Households
- 62% - 24% Suburban Voters
- 72% - 14% Voters without College Degree
The splits in favor of deep reductions tended to be even greater among swing voters who voted for Trump last year:
- 78% - 10% Independents voted for Trump
- 93% - 5% Democrats voted for Trump
Perhaps most telling of all was the nearly 5-to-1 preference for deep immigration cuts among likely Florida voters who said immigration is in their top 3 issues. The passion among Florida voters is clearly on the side of the chief aspect of the RAISE Act, which is to greatly reduce the number of foreign citizens added to the country each year with life-time work permits.
As constituents communicate with Sen. Nelson about whether he will stand with Florida voters for less foreign worker competition, they might remind him that this poll found that only 16% of voters who are passionate about immigration policy want to continue the current immigration levels or increase them.
And Sen. Nelson will need to keep an eye on the 74% of passionate voters who want to cut immigration numbers by at least half -- 32% want to cut to zero!
ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA
(The poll of 1,000 Florida voters had a margin of sampling error of 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. For more information on this poll, see https://www.numbersusa.com/search?term=florida+poll)
The exact wording of the polling question was: QUESTION: Current federal policy automatically adds about one million new legal immigrants each year giving all of them lifetime work visas. Which is closest to the number of lifetime immigrant work visas the government should be adding each year -- none, 250,000, half a million, one million, one and a half million, two million, or more than two million?
Updated: Wed, Nov 1st 2017 @ 3:47pm EDT