Granted, in the long term, the politics of immigration will certainly work in favor of the Democrats. Look at California: Republicans have never recovered from the legislation and rhetoric of Pete Wilson's governorship. In the short term, however, the issue could push in the opposite direction. While the immigration debate of 2006-2007 divided Republicans, it also divided Democrats, and this year the issue will most hurt endangered Democrats in tough districts.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer last week signed a new law into effect that authorizes local police to stop and verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 60% of voters nationwide favor such a law, while 31% are opposed.
Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Republicans support the law along with 62% of voters not affiliated with either major party. Democratic voters are evenly divided on the measure.
At the same time, however, 58% of all voters are at least somewhat concerned that “efforts to identify and deport illegal immigrants will also end up violating the civil rights of some U.S. citizens.” That figure includes 29% who are Very Concerned about possible civil rights violations.
More than three-quarters of Americans have heard about the state of Arizona's new immigration law, and of these, 51% say they favor it and 39% oppose it... Nationally, 62% of Republicans support the law (including 75% of Republicans who have heard about it). Democrats are more likely to oppose (45%) than favor (27%) the law, and a majority of Democrats familiar with the law (56%) oppose it. Independents are somewhat more likely to favor (37%) than oppose (29%) the law, with half of those who have heard about it in favor.
As you may know, the Arizona Senate recently passed an immigration bill. Would you support enacting each one of these regulations included in the Arizona immigration bill in your own state?
Making it a crime to transport someone who is an illegal immigrant
Requiring state and local police to determine the status of a person if there is "reasonable suspicion" that they are illegal immigrants
Arresting people who are unable to provide documentation to prove they are in the U.S. legally
Making it a crime to hire day labourers off the street
Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,002 American adults, conducted on Apr. 22 and Apr. 23, 2010. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.