The Partnership for a New American Economy, in collaboration with a group of prominent Iowa Republican leaders, today released a new survey of likely Iowa Republican Caucus attendees specifically on the issue of immigration—the first survey of its kind. Caucus-goers were asked their views on a host of immigration-related issues.
“This survey demonstrates that while opinions are strong on tough enforcement for illegal immigration, it is not the top-tier, hot button issue among Republican caucus-goers it’s often made out to be. Further, there is clearly an appetite for working to solve problems with our legal immigration system and Iowa Republicans make the connection that doing so can help grow our economy,” said John Stineman, a Republican strategist unaligned in the 2012 race and a spokesman for the group.
The survey found support for proposals to expand legal immigration, with likely Iowa Republican caucus attendees saying the following proposals are “definitely good” or “worth a try”:
• 72% are open to allowing foreign-born students educated in the U.S. to enter the workforce after graduation
• 64% are open to streamlining the process for employers to hire the seasonal and permanent employees they need when Americans are not filling vacant jobs
• 66% are open to increasing opportunities for high-skilled legal immigrants to enter the U.S. workforce
• 71% are open to increasing opportunities for entrepreneurs from other countries to move to the U.S. to start a business here.
In the end, only 16% of likely Iowa Republican caucus attendees were outright opposed to proposals to modernize and/or expand legal immigration.
“Despite the conventional wisdom on the politics of immigration, this survey shows that Republican Iowa caucus support expanded immigration policies that will produce jobs for Americans – just as business leaders and mayors around the country do,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“The survey showed that likely Republican caucus attendees are supportive of increasing legal immigration and that they are open to several proposals that would expand legal immigration in a way that will spur economic growth,” added Kurtenbach. “It is critical that we are able to have this important discussion – and that the political discourse and reporting of it are reflective of the openness of Republicans on this set of issues.”
The economy is clearly the driving issue in the campaign, with only government spending, taxes and the creation of new jobs and businesses registering as critical issues by a majority of likely Caucus attendees.