Diversity in America doesn’t favor Republicans in polls: Study

Another reason why GOP may scorn boost in legal immigration.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: A report by the Center for Immigration Studies says that legal immigration into the US has significantly boosted the Democratic Party over the last thirty years, and that the trend will likely continue.

The news is alarming for Republicans, especially in a critical midterm election year in which they hope to usurp control of the Senate and House of Representatives away from a vulnerable Democratic Party. While it’s not exactly shocking to hear that immigrants tend to lean left, what is surprising is the extent to which they have apparently debilitated the Republicans’ chances of winning key elections.

“As the immigrant population has grown, Republican electoral prospects have dimmed, even after controlling for alternative explanations of GOP performance,” said James Gimpel, author of the report and a professor of government at the University of Maryland at College Park, in a statement. “Republicans are right to want to attract Latino voters,” he continued. “But expanding the flow of low-skilled immigrants into an economy ill-suited to promote their upward mobility will be counterproductive.”

According to the report, every time the immigrant share of a large American county increases by 1%, the chances of Republicans winning that county by 0.6%. Legal immigrants into the US totaled nearly 30 million between 1980 and 2012, and have led to a substantial Democratic bias in the nationwide electorate. The report says that these effects are felt pretty much universally around the country, and don’t deviate substantially in places like California, Texas, or Florida. Legal immigration is also expected to continue at about one million per year, further hindering the GOP.

Latinos and Asians, who make up the majority of legal immigrants, skew heavily progressive and liberal when it comes to issues such as the size and scope of the federal government; this has led to a “two-to-one party identification with Democrats over Republicans” – definitely not something the GOP wants to hear. Income inequality and the low-income statuses of many immigrants also compel them to vote Democrat, as that’s seen as the party that champions the poor.

The report also says that, as certain cities and settlements become heavily saturated with immigrant populations, Republican voters will likely move away from them, creating lopsided Democratic majorities in pockets around the nation.

The Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, or “Gang of Eight” bill, calls for a substantial increase in legal immigration, which the study says would accelerate the decline of the Republican Party throughout the US. In fact, Gimpel says “The impact of immigration is easily sufficient, by itself, to decide upcoming presidential elections.”

In 2008, the Democratic Party saw 55% support from the immigrant citizen population, and 70.6% support from the immigrant non-citizen population. That’s a far cry from the Republicans, which only got 30.9% support from immigrant citizens, and a paltry 15.9% from immigrant non-citizens.

The numbers didn’t change much four years later, during the 2012 elections. Immigrant citizens favored Democrats 62.5% of the time, while choosing the GOP just 24.6%. Immigrant non-citizens had 60.4% support for the left, and only 16.8% for the right.

Republicans continue to scramble to find a way for immigration reform to get pushed through this year, but it remains to be seen if all their behind-the-scenes effort will produce actual results in 2014. For now, the findings of this report seem to indicate that diversity in America is not a friend of the GOP, and the party will either need to re-think its strategy in the coming months and years, or get ready for inevitable dissolution.

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