Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp is facing a re-election bid next year with a North Dakota electorate that polling finds overwhelmingly wants immigration reduced -- just like President Trump who won the state's electoral votes last year.
A survey by Pulse Opinion Research has found that all components of the RAISE Act are strongly favored by North Dakota's "likely mid-term" voters?
In next year's election, Sen. Heitkamp will be answering to North Dakota voters who polled 53% to 23% 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 in the 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 North Dakota electorate but also among Sen. Heitkamp's base of voters who have supported her in the past.
Among likely mid-term voters who said they have cast ballots for Sen. Heitkamp in the past, 51% said they want legal immigration cut to a half-million or less, while 31% said keep it at a million a year or more.
Of those Heitkamp supporters who called for reductions, under a third said cut to 500,000, almost half said cut to 250,000 and a third answered that they would prefer zero legal immigration.
NORTH DAKOTA GROUPS WITH LOTS OF SWING VOTERS WANT CUTS
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:
53% - 25% Independents
56% - 23% Moderates
55% - 19% Catholics
53% - 25% Union Households
58% - 21% Suburban Voters
58% - 21% Voters W/O a College Degree
The splits in favor of deep reductions tended to be even greater among swing voters who voted for Trump last year:
63% - 13% Independents voted for Trump
69% - 10% Democrats voted for Trump
Perhaps most telling of all was the 31/2-to-1 preference for deep immigration cuts among likely North Dakota voters who said immigration is in their top 3 issues. The passion among North Dakota 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. Heitkamp about whether she will stand with North Dakota voters for less foreign worker competition, they might remind her that this poll found that only 18% of voters who are passionate about immigration policy want to continue the current immigration levels or increase them.
And Sen. Heitkamp will need to keep an eye on the 62% of passionate voters who want to cut immigration numbers by at least half -- 24% want to cut to zero!
ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA
(The poll of 1,000 North Dakota 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/news/north-dakota-voters-cut-legal-immigration-least-half).
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: Fri, Sep 29th 2017 @ 5:27pm EDT