The Trump Way on Immigration Suits Republicans, Poll Shows

Lindsey McPherson, Roll Call, November 11, 2015

Republicans need to make gains with Hispanic voters in 2016, but that reality is complicated by the fact that more adults support Donald Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration, a new Economist Group/YouGov Poll finds.

A whopping 49 percent of Republicans and independents who lean to the GOP say Trump is the presidential candidate who can best handle the issue–well ahead of Marco Rubio with 10 percent GOP support, Ted Cruz with 7 percent and Jeb Bush at 5 percent.

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Trump’s plan to end so-called birthright citizenship and send all unauthorized immigrants back to their home countries helped propel him to the top of polls this summer. Rubio and Bush both support a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants who undergo a background check, learn English and pay fees or taxes.

In another sign of GOP support for Trump’s strict immigration policies, more poll respondents reacted favorably to a comment by the real-estate mogul.

Sixty-five percent of Republicans and the independents who lean that way agreed with this statement: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” Trump said that in June, but poll respondents weren’t told who said it.

By contrast, 77 percent of Republicans disagree with this comment: “Yes, illegal immigrants broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love; it’s an act of commitment to your family.” Poll respondents weren’t told that Bush said the comment in April.

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