Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.
—King Henry V, Shakespeare
When Peter Brimelow suggested I write a third article on disingenuous pro-immigration polling, I groaned.
But there's nothing like reading the latest well-financed lies of the Open Borders Establishment to, in the words of Prince Hal before Agincourt,
Stiffen the sinews,
summon up the blood
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage.
As an old marketing researcher, I can now say that the mainstream media's immigration surveys belong in a Hall of Shame of how not to perform objective opinion research.
Latest example: the Wall Street Journal's June 15th article (in the news section, not, surprisingly enough, on the Editorial Page) on a recent WSJ/NBC News poll of 1002 people:
Public Warms to Bush Immigration Stance
"WASHINGTON — Add this to the list of things that have gone right lately for President Bush: Americans appear to be drawing closer to his view on the immigration debate…
"By 50%-33%, the survey shows, Americans support the views expressed by President Bush and also by businesses, Hispanics and Democratic leaders: that steps to strengthen border security should be combined with a guest-worker program for prospective immigrants and those who have been in the U.S. for at least two years."
There are multiple layers of falsehoods here. Let's begin by looking at the wording of the actual question (PDF) from which the WSJ writer draws these broad conclusions:
"28. When it comes to the immigration bill, the Senate and the House of Representatives disagree with one another about what should be done on the issue of illegal immigration.
"Many in the House of Representatives favor strengthening security at the borders, including building a seven-hundred-mile fence along the border with Mexico to help keep illegal immigrants from entering the United States, and they favor deporting immigrants who are already in the United States illegally.
"Many in the Senate favor strengthening security at the borders, including building a three-hundred-and-seventy-mile fence along the border with Mexico to help keep illegal immigrants from entering the United States, and they favor a guest worker program to allow illegal immigrants who have jobs and who have been here for more than two years to remain in the United States.
"Which of these approaches would you prefer?"
As you may have noticed, this is intentionally misleading. The paragraph about the Senate's approach is not at all what the Senate actually passed way back on May 25th.
The WSJ/NBC News pollsters had more than two weeks before their polling began on June 9th to find out what was in the Senate's Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act and describe the actual legislation to respondents. But instead, they asked about a fantasy version of S2611 that they concocted to elicit approval.
The researchers chose duplicitously to conflate the Senate's amnesty for current illegal immigrants with the Senate's guest worker program for future newcomers from overseas. (They probably wanted to use "guest worker" as a euphemism for "amnesty", a term that they know is a loser with the public.)
The most rational interpretation of the survey's sentence about the Senate bill is that current illegals, rather than be immediately deported, would become guest workers. Since the definition of a guest is someone who comes and, sooner or later, goes, the survey's description makes it sound like current illegal aliens and their employers would be given a number of years to make new arrangements, after which the illegals would then leave the country.
Unfortunately, while that might sound like a reasonable compromise to you or me (although it's probably not feasible), it's not what President Bush and Senator Kennedy want at all. They want the illegals to stay.
Amusingly (or, perhaps, infuriatingly), reporter Harwood [email him] spun this survey result in his WSJ article as proving public support for "a guest-worker program for prospective immigrants". But in reality, the pollsters' description of the guest worker plan never mentioned newcomers—just "illegal immigrants who have jobs and who have been here for more than two years."
It's bad enough for the WSJ's pollsters to ask a fraudulent question. [Vdare.com note: The story quotes "Democratic pollster Peter Hart, (email him) who helps conduct the Journal/NBC survey." ] But for the WSJ reporter then to announce the results support the real legislation the newspaper was afraid to ask about in the first place is such an exquisite refinement on run-of-the-mill dishonesty that it would require the imagination of a Dante to dream up an appropriate punishment.
And that's just scratching the surface of the falsehoods and spin in the survey and in Harwood's article:
Still, underneath all the spin, there are still some nuggets of useful data in the WSJ/NBC News polls if you pore over the results for registered voters:
"Among Americans calling immigration a top-tier issue, 72% say they are more likely to back a candidate seeking a fence along the Mexican border, while just 37% say they are more likely to support one who favors a guest-worker program."
In other words, among the sizable number of Americans who care enough to cast votes based on immigration, a fence wins in a landslide over the Kennedy/Bush approach.
Despite all this pollaganda, the plain fact is that getting tough on illegal immigration is a winning issue in American politics.
It was for California Governor Pete Wilson in 1994.
It was for victorious GOP House candidate Brian Bilbray earlier this month.
Bilbray drove the message home when he was sworn in:
"'There was one issue and only one issue that allowed me to be elected,' Mr. Bilbray said… 'It was the fact the people in the 50th District wanted something done, they wanted a job and a message sent to Washington that now and here is the time to address illegal immigration.'
The only question is: how long can the bipartisan political Establishment go on lying about t?
[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and movie critic for The American Conservative. His website www.iSteve.blogspot.com features his daily blog.]