Will Immigration Split the Republican Party?

I don’t know, but it’s already split PoliPundit. Hope that’s not a portent of things to come!

PAUL adds: The less said about what’s happened at PoliPundit (and specifically the tone of the debate there), the better. But meanwhile, President Bush’s speech is polling well. That’s not surprising since (a) there was some good stuff in the speech and (b) Americans often like positions that seem to take the middle ground. Unfortunately, as I said last night, I don’t think Bush found the real middle ground. However, for many, he made it sound as though he had.

For purposes of 2006, I’m not convinced that the party will take a big hit due to the immigration issue. There is no national race. Each Republican will take the position that makes sense to him or her (presumably balancing political and policy preference considerations in some fashion). In doing so, Republican candidates will make some voters angry, but individual Democratic candidates will face the same dilemma. To the extent that President Bush’s standing matters (and it does to some degree), his overall standing probably will not be adversely affected by the position he has taken on immigration.

JOHN adds: Before the speech, Bush was polling around 16% or 17% favorable on immigration, so just about anything he said could be expected to improve that number. I agree that the issue may not hurt much in November. For now, the Democrats are getting away with not having a coherent position on the issue. But come election time, the voters will want to know where the candidates stand. I doubt that individual Republicans in tough races will allow Democratic opponents to get around to their right on immigration.


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