Poll results give little comfort to pro-amnesty crowd

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post declares that the House will not pass the Senate immigration bill. Everyone understands, I think, that the House won’t pass the Senate bill per se. The big question is whether — on its own initiative or following a Senate-House conference — it will agree to amnesty/a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

I assume Cillizza’s answer is “no.” Otherwise, he’s not telling us anything.

Cillizza bases his conclusion on the results of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll. From these results, Cillizza finds four reasons to believe that the House won’t follow the Senate’s lead on immigration.

First, the Senate bill isn’t particularly popular. 46 percent favor it while 44 oppose. As Cillizza says, “it’s not like Americans are clamoring for this one piece of legislation.”

Second, the opposition is louder. Just 19 percent of Americans support the Senate bill “strongly,” while 30 percent oppose it strongly. And, I would add, the percentage of Republicans who strongly oppose the bill is considerably larger than 30 percent. House Republicans can’t help but be influenced by that fact.

Third, supporters aren’t angry enough. As Cillizza explains, just 50 percent say they would be “disappointed” if a path to citizenship doesn’t pass, compared to 40 percent who would be “relieved.” And among the 50 percent that would be disappointed, just 13 percent say they would be “angry.”

Moreover, not all of those in the “disappointed” category would blame Republicans. Indeed, if we believe this poll, less than one-third of Americans would be disappointed and blame Republicans. And only a very small percentage would be angry and blame Republicans.

Fourth, Americans like Boehner’s approach. Just 32 percent want the House to vote on the Senate bill. 54 percent prefer the Speaker’s approach of breaking the issues down into individual pieces.

I should also note that the ABC News/Washington Post poll cited by Cillizza may overstate support for the Senate’s approach generally, and for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. The same survey found that 49 percent approve of Obama’s performance and that only 44 percent disapprove. Most current polls show Obama doing significantly worse.

Since those who are well-disposed towards Obama are also likely to approve of the Senate’s immigration bill, that bill may be a little less popular than the ABC News/Washington Post poll suggests.

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