WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A national exit poll of 1,000 voters in last week's midterm elections shows that support for immigration enforcement remains strong, and should be an area where bipartisan consensus can be reached in the 116th Congress. The survey was conducted by the polling firm Zogby Analytics on behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
The poll provides conclusive evidence that Republican losses in the House of Representatives were not due to the party's or President Trump's strong stances on immigration enforcement. In fact, the president's emphasis of this issue in the closing days of the campaign may have limited Republican losses and helped the party retain control of the Senate. Support for immigration enforcement was a motivating factor in turning out Republican voters on Election Day and an influence how swing Independent voters cast their ballots.
"Republican losses in the midterms fell far below historic norms for the party in office, including a net pick-up of seats in the Senate," noted Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "Obviously, voters considered many factors in reaching their decisions. Other polls show that concerns about health care and the rancorous tone of political discourse in Washington helped Democrats. But, exit polling that zeroed in on immigration demonstrates that President Trump's stances on immigration are far more popular with voters than the president himself is."
Among the key findings of the Zogby Analytics exit poll are:
88.3% of voters (including 82.8% of Democrats and 85.7% of Independents) believe illegal immigration is "a problem" or a "serious problem."
72.3% of voters said a candidate's views on immigration were either an "important" or a "very important factor" in determining their vote. The issue was a stronger motivating factor for Republican voters (84.9%) than for Democratic voters (69.2%).
Overall, a strong plurality of voters (46.9%) were more likely to vote for "candidates who support stronger border and immigration enforcement and who oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants." Moreover, in turning out the base and winning over swing voters, these positions likely helped Republican candidates. Among Republican voters, 82.7% were motivated to support candidates who supported these positions. Among swing Independent voters, 42.3% said they were motivated to support such candidates compared with 28.5% who said they would be less likely to vote for such candidates.
President Trump's immigration policies are far more popular than the president himself. According to the poll, Trump has a 45.8% to 51.6% job approval deficit. However, when it comes to immigration policy, those numbers are almost exactly reversed. 51.7% of voters approve of the way he is handling immigration, compared with 43.1% who disapprove.
President Trump's call for construction of a secure border fence is supported by a strong plurality of voters, 47.1%, compared with 31.5% who disapprove of building a fence. Again, his calls for construction of the fence was likely a motivating factor for Republican voters, who support construction by a whopping 80.4% to 4.3%. More importantly, Independent swing voters approve of fence construction by a 53.3% to 31.3% margin.
A push for mandatory E-Verify amounts to "low-hanging fruit" for the president in the coming two years. Mandatory E-Verify enjoys a lopsided 73.6% to 8.6% margin of support from all voters. Support cuts across all party and ethic/racial lines. It is supported by 54.6% of Democrats, 90.5% of Republicans, and 78.4% of Independents. In addition, it is supported by 80.2% of white voters, 58.4% of Hispanic voters, 52.7% of black voters, and 73.8 of Asian voters.
"The 2018 elections were clearly not a repudiation of the president's stances on immigration policy and enforcement. To the contrary, these policies enjoy broad support and likely helped minimize his party's losses in the midterms," observed Stein.
"The exit polling also offers some cautionary advice for the new Democratic majority in the House. While the party is being pushed toward fringe positions on immigration enforcement by its far left flank, many of the new members from purple swing districts owe their seats to moderate Independent voters who favor border enforcement, mandatory E-Verify, and other policies promoted by the Trump administration. There is room for legislative action on these critical issues in the 116th Congress if both parties are willing to put aside partisan squabbling and listen to the voters who sent them to Washington," Stein concluded.
Contact: Matthew Tragesser, 202-328-7004
Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group. With over 2 million members and supporters nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.
SOURCE Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)