Resurgent Republic discusses four focus groups on immigration reform with Republican primary voters in Des Moines, Iowa, and Greenville, South Carolina. Findings:
- Republican primary voters strongly support legal immigration and are receptive to messages advocating the values and benefits of such policies.
- Universally deporting undocumented immigrants is viewed as an impractical solution in fixing the immigration system.
- A pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants is acceptable to Republican primary voters if it is an earned process and fair to those who are already legally in the system.
- Republican primary voters believe any immigration reform plan must secure the border and not offer public assistance incentives to undocumented immigrants.
- Like the electorate at large, the issue of immigration reform is not the top priority for Republican primary voters, but they do believe Republicans should lead on immigration reform.
- The Republican base recognizes the need for their party to broaden its support in order to remain politically relevant.
Few things bring clarity of thought like defeat. Participants rattled off several reasons as to why President Obama won reelection, including messaging, candidate quality, media bias, and the president's personal popularity. Republicans' deficit among women and non-white voters also made the list. Several participants made the case for Republican candidates to do a better job appealing to the Hispanic community.
In South Carolina, one voter said Republicans "need to take out ads on Spanish language television" and "explain this is who we are and what we believe." One Iowa women concluded, "What the Republicans need to do is present to Hispanic voters their beliefs." The Hispanic community is not monolithic and polling shows many prefer a more activist role of government, but in order to appeal to swing Latino voters the Republican base sees the need to show up. One Palmetto State woman set the scene for failing do so, "If we continue to be so off in the corner, that's where we’re going to stay."