The immigration policy that President Barack Obama announced last week is controversial in the battleground state of Michigan according to the latest Mitchell Poll of 750 likely voters in the November General Election. When read a description of the policy and a response that many Republicans are using, almost half of the voters (47 percent) say they are less likely to vote for Obama while four-in-ten (41 percent) say the immigration policy makes them more likely. Twelve percent are undecided. The survey was conducted Monday June 18, 2012 before Mitt Romney started his bus tour through the state. The poll has a margin of error + or – 3.58 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence. The survey was conducted by Mitchell Research for the media and was not paid for by any campaigns or committees.
President Obama hoped this order would help him with Hispanics in key battleground states. However, if Republicans stay on the message that Obama’s order is unconstitutional, they can turn this issue into a winner in Michigan, compounding Obama’s problems.
Respondents were read the following question:
“President Obama issued an order saying that 800,000 illegal immigrants who came to this country before they were 16 years old and who have either graduated from high school or been in the military can now get a work card and stay in this country. He says it is the right thing to do. Republicans say that whether the idea is right or wrong, Obama’s action is unconstitutional. Republicans say the action taken by the president was a part of a bill that did not pass the Congress, and that Obama is doing an end run around the constitution. Does President Obama’s order make you more or less likely to vote for him in November?”
Clearly, the “constitutional end run” argument is a strong one for the Republicans. It not only plays well with GOP voters (75 percent say the policy would make them “much less likely” to vote for Obama and another 6 percent say “little less likely”) it impacts independents. A majority of the independents (53 percent) say “less likely” while just more than a third (36 percent) say “more likely.”
The response to this question tracks with those who are voting for or against Obama. Obama is leading with women and trails with men. Among women, 46 percent are “more likely to vote for Obama” but 41 percent are “less likely.” Among men, a solid majority (55 percent) are “less likely” with 45 percent “much less likely.”
The issue hurts Obama with some age groups that are supporting him. Almost half of the voters 18-39 are “less likely” with almost four-in-ten (39 percent) “much less likely.” Forty five percent are “more likely” with 28 percent “much more likely.” A majority (50 percent) of 40-59 year olds are “less likely” to vote for Obama on this with four-in-ten (42 percent) ” much less likely.” This is also the age group most supportive of Romney in the trial ballot test. By a narrow plurality (47-43 percent), 60 and over voters are “more likely” to vote for him based on this.
Among white voters, four-in-ten are “more likely” while half (50 percent) are “less likely” to vote for Obama on the immigration order. Four-in-ten whites (41 percent) are “much less likely.” Three-fourths of African Americans support the order with more than half (56 percent) “much more likely.” There were too few Hispanics to provide a valid sub-sample.
If the Republicans keep pounding their argument that this is an end run on the Constitution, they will be able to gain traction in their opposition to President Obamas’s immigration order.
(Steve Mitchell is president of Mitchell Research & Communications, Inc. has been the most accurate media pollster in Michigan in every presidential election since 1992. Originally posted on The Michigan View.)