According to a recent national poll of 1002 adults by ABC News/Washington Post, a plurality of adults say they are less likely to vote for a candidate for U.S. Congress who supports a “path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.” (ABC News/Washington Post Poll p. 17, March 4, 2014). The poll found that thirty-eight percent of adults said that they would be less likely to vote for such a candidate, and thirty percent said they would be more likely. (Id.) Twenty-nine percent said it wouldn’t make much difference, and three percent had no opinion. (Id.) Thus, according to this poll, among adults, support for amnesty, even described as “a path to citizenship,” results in a net loss in support rather than gain.  It should be noted that a random sample of 1002 adults, which may include illegal aliens, permanent residents, and non-voting citizens, may find different results than a sample of likely voters.

This poll undermines arguments made by amnesty proponents that Republicans must embrace amnesty to win national elections, particularly during presidential election years with larger turnout. For instance, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) argued in January that “we can win in 2014 without resolving it [immigration], we can’t win in 2016 without resolving it.” (National Journal, Jan. 14, 2014) To the contrary, this poll suggests that rejecting amnesty would actually improve Republicans’ electoral position, even among a wider electorate. Similar analyses by FAIR and Eagle Forum draw the same conclusion. (See FAIR’s Analysis: “Republicans Have an Immigration Problem — And Amnesty Won’t Solve It,” Oct. 2013; see also Eagle Forum’s “How Mass (Legal) Immigration Dooms a Conservative Republican Party, Feb. 2014)