Oops! I think I am so well informed on issues. But, sadly, probably only the issues which I know about and have studied for some time.
Hey, we're all that way. Focused on our professions and staying up on fast-moving changes in every one of them, we tend to eschew a general knowledge of the big issues except as we glean them from our mass media. The welter of TV daily offerings is generally such gibberish that Americans who get their main information from TV are often out of the loop on really key matters. When crises like the sub-prime mortgage fiasco hit, we are shocked.
One very depressing example of this TV induced disconnect: Americans are now considering who they will pick for President. Failure to read any harder news than some errant bimbo or baseball steroid user is an American tragedy. Sitting dumbly before the tube, many never really get any reality check on what politicians really stand for.
Happily, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a respected think tank, has commissioned a survey on this topic, conducted by Pulse Opinion Research.
CIS' poll "using neutral language, finds that primary and caucus voters have little knowledge of candidates' immigration positions. The results also show that voters often do not share their candidate's position." (For specifics on the questions and tables, see here, or download the PDF here.)
You may find these results distressing—particularly if you have been regularly reading VDARE.COM's horror stories on what is not happening with immigration reform, huge legal and illegal flows across our borders, constant efforts to give illegal aliens American tax-payer benefits, the constant business push for the importation of special visa employees such as H1-B personnel to take higher-paying American jobs. These open border trends are well supported by lobbying at the Federal level to prevent real patriotic immigration reform.
But the issue is still off the radar screen for many voters.
Frankly, this did not surprise me. I have personally found widespread ignorance as I go around the country talking to people, many of whom share my Democratic views on family planning, health care, education, etc. but seem to have really lost their way when it comes to analyzing America's future if we keep importing unnecessary workers, both legal and illegal—let's call them the "new slaves".
Daily, I run into Americans who simply ignore and/or disregard the obvious and overwhelming number of these newcomers. In Los Angeles and San Francisco, California ,where I spent a week last month, the presence of large numbers of immigrants is of course more evident than in Maine, where I have spent time in the summer for years. But proof of the ill effects of these numbers on American citizens are clear and continuously flowing.
The CIS survey showed: "Only 34 percent of McCain voters, 42 percent of Clinton voters, and 52 percent of Obama voters correctly identified their candidate as favoring eventual citizenship for illegal immigrants who meet certain requirements."
It disclosed: "Of McCain voters, 35 percent mistakenly thought he favored enforcement that would cause illegals to return home, another 10 percent thought he wanted mass deportations, and 21 percent didn't know his position."
To reiterate: "Voters often held different positions from the candidate they supported. Only 31 percent of McCain voters had the same immigration position as he does. For Clinton voters, 45 percent shared her position; 61 percent of Obama voters shared his position."
Look at this horrible disconnect on McCain. This guy favors defending America by staying in Iraq—using the word "victory" without giving us a definition that makes any sense. Given his long military record, voters apparently see him as protecting the country—when in fact he is undermining it with his immigration stance. How many more billions do we divert from educating our kids better or keeping our infrastructure in proper repair, instead of shooting Muslims?
The CIS finds "that all three remaining candidates favor legalization for illegal immigrants".
The only (slightly) bright spot in this poll: "Whoever wins the presidency will face significant opposition to giving eventual citizenship to illegal immigrants. Just 25 percent of Republican and 50 percent of Democratic primary/caucus voters said they would support such an effort."
Perhaps American voters should assess the candidates from the most cynical perspective. Let's pick the one most likely to bend to political winds for patriotic immigration reform.
I'd pick Hillary first, with Obama not far behind. But certainly not McCain, whose "Straight Talk Express" on immigration reform seems far less likely to waver, despite the stronger positions of his Republican colleagues.
Perhaps America will be saved by a massive grass roots citizen uprising! Significantly, according to the CIS survey:
"Pro-enforcement voters have a greater intensity of views than supporters of legalization. Among Republicans, almost nine out ten who favored causing illegals to return home said they strongly supported that view; on the other hand, fewer than half of Republicans who backed legalization strongly supported that view."
"This greater intensity also exists among Democrats. Of Democrats who favored causing illegals to return home, more than seven out of ten strongly supported that view; on the other hand, fewer than six out of ten who favored legalization strongly supported that view."
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.