Grassroots Conservatives Fed Up With Illegal Immigration…And The GOP`s Failure To Fix It!!
March 23, 2006, 04:00 AM
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For months now, I have been prattling on about the GOP and its need to solidify (or just listen to) its base: the grassroots conservatives.

After my latest warning to the Beltway that, seen from here in southern California, the natives are restless, I got this telling email from a Republican official somewhere in Occupied America:

"I`m the treasurer of the [deleted] County Republican Party...I can`t wait until fall to try and motivate Republican volunteers to make GOTV [get out the vote] phone calls and walk precincts for a guest worker amnesty....I`ll be lucky if I get two or three when we generally have 1000. In other words, you are so right on with your comments.

"Keep up the good work."

GOPUSA, the Texas-based conservative group, just released survey results [here] from an issues poll administered only to grassroots conservatives.

Now then, some politicos put a lot of faith in polls and surveys. I think most of them are pretty much garbage and I haven`t read one that I considered accurate since four out of five dentists said they preferred Trident.

(Yeah…and even then it is important to note that most kids still chomped Bubble Yum so what did the results even mean, folks?)

At the beginning of my career in politics, I paid a lot of attention to poll and/or survey results because I thought they were real.

If the opponent`s camp put out a press release that said 57 percent of voters would vote against my guy in an election, I thought "Gee, we need to find out why and fix it!"

But what I learned to do was read the whole poll…especially the questions and how they were worded.

Most pollsters word the questions as to lead the participants towards a specific answer or conclusion…meaning a statistic that the pollster can spin.

More often than not, 57 percent of voters answered "no" to a question such as this:

Would you vote to re-elect your Assemblyman if he supported a bill to overturn Roe v. Wade?

Now we connect the dots:

My candidate is pro-choice and once-upon-a-time at a fundraiser (or in college while he was smoking pot that he may not have inhaled) he said something like "I think Roe v. Wade was unconstitutional."

Well there you have it…my candidate opposes Roe and 57 percent said they would not elect such a candidate.

And as a campaign manager, I now have to deal with a poll being circulated in the media that says 57 percent of voters don`t like my guy!

Ask questions, people!

If survey results have any influence on your opinion then read the whole survey!

Yeah…like you would the fine print on a purchase agreement from a dealership called Jethro`s Used Cars and Fried Chicken, ok?

(Hmm…funny enough, the two are oddly similar).

There have been a ton of surveys and polls conducted by the biggies (Gallup, Zogby and Co.) on the issue of illegal immigration. But my instincts tell me I think GOPUSA`s poll, called the Pulse of Grassroots Conservatives, is on the money.

GOPUSA kept the format simple and the questions specific, which means the results are most likely accurate.

Here are a few:

  • (Question 11) What do you think is the most important issue facing America today?

Response:

Government Spending—8 percent

Moral Decline—10 percent

War on Terror—22 percent

The most important issue was set apart by a wide margin:

Border Security/Immigration—33 percent

Quite often, a question like this would be presented as "multiple choice" or the participant would be asked to rank, in order of importance, eight different issues.

Either way, the "most important issue" is practically fed to the participant unlike the GOPUSA poll which allows to voter to choose the issue for themselves.

After this general question, there were questions designed to identify the specific areas of immigration that were problematic for grassroots conservatives—a very important indicator.

Somewhat serious—9 percent

Not too serious—2 percent

Not a problem—0 percent

Not sure—0 percent

And looky here:

Very serious—88 percent

Here`s another:

Yes—8 percent

Not sure—6 percent

No—86 percent

Yes—2 percent

Not sure—2 percent

No—96 percent

Government spending was first with 49 percent. Immigration reform was second with 34 percent.

Now that I have stated my reasons for considering these results more accurate than most, let me tell you why I think they are more valuable.

The participants of this survey are grassroots conservatives—not random people who may or may not vote; and not a hodgepodge of the political spectrum.

This is the faction of the GOP responsible for turning out voters at election time…the people elected officials should listen to and quite frankly, fear.

Speaking of those scoundrels, how did our elected officials fare in the poll?

  • (Question 2) How satisfied are you with the job the Senate is doing?

A mere 26 percent said they were "somewhat satisfied" while 38 percent said they were "somewhat unsatisfied" and 34 percent "very unsatisfied".

Wow…72 percent are unsatisfied to some degree.

Only 4 percent were "very satisfied" while 37 percent said they were "somewhat satisfied", 37 percent said they were "somewhat unsatisfied" and 22 percent said they were "very unsatisfied".

Again, 59 percent are unsatisfied to some degree.

There were many other questions of interest in this poll. But, in closing, the one I find most intriguing is about future Presidential candidates:

  • (Question 9) Who is your choice to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2008?

Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) are two of the most powerful men in Washington. They have very high profiles and both have made known their Presidential aspirations.

You would think they would be favorites…but it seems they are not.

Only 6 percent picked Senator Fristwhich was a better showing than the 4 percent received by Senator McCain.

Hmm…now that`s interesting.

Grassroots conservatives are very concerned about illegal immigration and consider the efforts of Congress thus far to correct the problem a complete failure.

Senator McCain has been touting a guest worker scheme with his pal Ted Kennedy for quite some time—clearly the grassroots conservatives reject this idea, or they would rally behind him.

As for Senator Frist, he has yet to do anything.

Perhaps it is his lack of action that repels the grassroots conservative.

Senator Frist has said that debate on immigration reform will resume in the Senate next week—beginning with his own proposed legislation which fortunately does not contain guest worker language.

Then again, it doesn`t address the 12 million illegal aliens living in the Unites States today at all.

And it increases legal immigration.

Well now…it seems the Senator from Tennessee/Presidential hopeful still has time to do the right thing:

Immigration reform begins with enforcement and enforcement is neither amnesty nor a guest worker program.

Senator Frist may have omitted guest worker language from his bill to avoid debating a contentious issue during an election year. But will that be enough to satisfy the grassroots Republicans?

Hmm…now that`s an inspiring campaign slogan:

Look what I didn`t do! Vote for me!

Bryanna Bevens [email her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff for a member of the California State Assembly.