immigration

A new analysis from the Center for Immigration Studies confirms what many have long suspected: Donald Trump’s strong stance on curbing illegal immigration was responsible for attracting many voters in 2016 who had not supported Mitt Romney in 2012.

On the flip side, Trump’s immigration stance did not cause him to lose as many Romney voters as he gained.

Therefore, the immigration issue likely played a key role in catapulting Trump into the White House.

James G. Gimpel, professor of government at the University of Maryland and the author of the analysis, acknowledged immigration is an issue that now polarizes Americans along party lines more than at any time in contemporary history. Yet when Gimpel controlled for party identification, he found attitudes toward immigration did indeed drive voters to support Trump. The same was true when Gimpel controlled for sex, age, race, ethnicity, income and education.

The author estimated that 90 percent of voters with the most conservative (meaning restrictionist) views on immigration voted for Trump in 2016. This was unsurprising, given that Trump made immigration restriction a central focus of his campaign. Meanwhile, in 2012, only 70 percent of those same voters voted for Romney, who kept his immigration views mostly quiet on the campaign trail.

Predictably, only 5 percent of voters with the most liberal views on immigration voted for Trump in 2016. But Romney’s performance among this group of voters was not much better, as he attracted 11 percent support.

America is headed down a suicidal path contends Leo Hohmann’s “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest Through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad,” available now in hard copy or e-book at the WND Superstore.

Breaking down these voters by demographics yielded some interesting findings. Among women who hold the most restrictive views on immigration (about one-third of all women, according to the author), 86 percent voted for Trump and 68 percent voted for Romney, a difference of 18 percentage points. But while 4 percent of women with the most liberal immigration views voted for Trump, only 10 percent voted for Romney, a six-point difference. Therefore, the immigration issue appears to have driven more women toward Trump than away from him.

Among African-American voters with the most restrictive immigration views, 75 percent voted for Trump whereas only 32 percent voted for Romney. That was a huge 43-point difference, but African-Americans with the most liberal immigration views apparently didn’t see any difference between Trump and Romney, with just 2 percent voting for each candidate. So Trump’s immigration rhetoric made a major difference for African-Americans who wanted to restrict immigration.

It also made a significant difference for voters identified as “weak Democrats” who favored immigration restriction. Forty-six percent of this group voted for Trump while only 11 percent voted for Romney. Weak Democrats with generous views on immigration did not shift nearly as much from 2012 to 2016, with less than 1 percent supporting Romney and 3 percent supporting Trump.

The same pattern was visible among voters with post-graduate degrees. Only 2 percent of such well-educated voters who favored the most generous immigration policies voted for Trump, while 4 percent voted for Romney. But among well-educated voters with restrictive views on immigration, the differences were stark: 76 percent voted for Trump while only 44 percent voted for Romney.

While Trump’s tough immigration rhetoric seems to have helped him among women, African-Americans, weak Democrats and the well-educated, it appears to have hurt him slightly among a few other groups. Only 2 percent of Hispanics with the most liberal immigration views voted for Trump, while 11 percent voted for Romney. Trump outperformed Romney among Hispanics with the most restrictive immigration views, but only by a five-point margin – 75 percent to 70 percent.

Nor was the immigration issue favorable to Trump for “strong Republican” voters. Among strong Republicans with the most restrictive immigration views, 97 percent supported Trump and 93 percent supported Romney. But Trump’s slight advantage there was wiped out by a major disadvantage among strong Republicans who favored liberal immigration policies. Forty percent of this group voted for Romney while only 18 percent voted for Trump.

Among lower middle-income men, those who held more restrictionist views supported Trump more than Romney, as expected. However, lower middle-income men with more liberal views on immigration also supported Trump more than Romney, meaning there may have been factors other than immigration that led them to vote for Trump in 2016.

Gimpel concluded: “Any campaign strategy emphasizing an incendiary wedge issue will produce trade-offs in support, as a candidate may lose voters that an alternative candidate from their party might have won, while improving on support from other blocs that another candidate would have lost. From the evidence assembled here, the gains from a focus on immigration restriction appear to have been considerably larger than the losses.”

Gimpel drew his data from the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group survey released in June 2017. To rank voters based on their views on immigration, he created an additive index based on responses to three survey questions that gauged respondents’ views toward various aspects of immigration. His index ranged from one to eight, with one representing the most  liberal immigration views and eight representing the most restrictive immigration views.

America is headed down a suicidal path contends Leo Hohmann’s “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest Through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad,” available now in hard copy or e-book at the WND Superstore.

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