A unique look at the American electorate confirms opposition to amnesty among key swing voter groups. The poll conducted jointly by NBC News and Esquire magazine grouped American voters into one of eight different categories, creating what they call a new "American Center," and this new "American Center" has little appetite for amnesty.
The poll also broke down how each of the groups voted in the 2012 elections and how they anticipate voting in future elections, providing valuable insight for both political parties to the voters they need to win future elections. (Full poll results here.)
The new "American Center" accounts for 51.5% of the electorate, and 48% of them have no preference for either political party; the balance is split between those who favor one party over the other with a slight lean towards Democrats. But the poll finds a slightly larger GOP base than Democratic base canceling out any advantage Democrats have with the middle groups. So it's truly the "American Center" that will determine who controls Congress after next year's midterm elections, and who will control the White House in 2016.
'AMERICAN CENTER' OPPOSES AMNESTY
The poll asked dozens of questions on a wide array of political issues, including this immigration question:
"Please indicate if you support or oppose each proposal. ... Provide illegal immigrants with a path to citizenship even though they have broken the rules."
The public details of the responses only provide what percentage of each group strongly supports the proposal, but analysis by Esquire does provide a slightly more detailed look, and it shows that 54% of Americans (regardless of political philosophies) oppose a path to citizenship:
Strongly Support -- 12%
Somewhat Support -- 20%
Neutral on the matter -- 14%
Somewhat Oppose -- 16%
Strongly Oppose -- 38%
Total Oppose -- 54%
Total Support -- 32%
The 54-to-32 margin in opposition to amnesty is fairly consistent with other polls that only ask for opinions on a standalone amnesty. A recent Public Opinion Research poll found that 60% of Americans oppose the Senate-approved Schumer-Rubio-Obama amnesty bill when put in the context of jobs. Polling conducted by pro-amnesty groups does show some support for the Senate bill, but the questions asked misrepresent what's actually included in the bill.
The percentage of each group that strongly supports path to citizenship:
Bleeding Hearts -- 51%
Gospel Left -- 21%
Minivan Mods -- 11%
MBA Middle -- 11%
Pickup Populists -- 11%
#whateverman -- 16%
Righteous Right -- 13%
Talk Radio Heads -- 3%
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
With the fiscal crisis over, House Leaders have indicated that their focus will shift to immigration reform. Furthermore, Pres. Barack Obama told Univision on Tuesday that his focus will now shift to passing a blanket amnesty for 11-18 million illegal aliens. This can be politically risky for both parties, especially since they've both taken their share of the blame from the American people on the shutdown.
Combining the above numbers with other numbers from the survey, the GOP would take the biggest hit if it were to support an amnesty. It's largest and most faithful voter base - Talk Radio Right - shows very little interest in an amnesty with only 3% in strong support. As for the four American Center groups, Mitt Romney lost three and the fourth group - MBA Middle - was evenly split between Romney and Obama. The MBA Middle, Pickup Populists, and Minivan Mods all show the lowest support for an amnesty after the hard right.
There's some support for amnesty among the Righteous Right, 13% strongly support, but they're a small minority compared to the rest of the group. This group supported Romney 87-to-13 in 2012, and he took one of the strongest pro-enforcement positions for a presidential candidate in recent memory, so it's unlikely the GOP will hurt its standing with the Righteous Right if it defies the pressure. Plus, this group has much stronger feelings on other social issues that rank-and-file Republicans also strongly support.
Liberal groups show strong support for an amnesty, but Democrats can't win elections with only those two groups. They, too, need the support of the American Center if they want to win back the House and keep the Senate in 2014 and keep the White House in 2016. Plus, the group with the highest union membership - Minivan Mods - shows little support for amnesty and broke 2-to-1 for Obama in 2012 making it a key voter bloc for Democrats.
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA