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To Get GOP Base on Board With Immigration Reform It Is All About the Messaging

the power of the attack word

A new WSJ/NBC poll shows just how important the messaging around immigration reform is for getting the Republican base, and presumably Republican members of Congress, on board for any piece of legislation.

A majority of Republicans oppose the general idea of a pathway to citizenship but overwhelmingly support it if they find out all the conditions that would likely be included. From NBC:

A slight majority of Republican respondents oppose this path, possibly foreshadowing the resistance which any comprehensive immigration reform bill might receive, especially in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

But when Republicans hear that a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants includes paying fines and back taxes, almost three-quarters of them support the idea.

If Republicans backers of immigration reform have a chance to fully explain their proposed legislation it should garner sufficient support among regular Republicans.

Of course as we have seen with many previous bills, trying to explain the complex nuances is not easy, especially if there is an organized opposition. The single attack word “amnesty” it a lot easier to put in 30 second ad than a thoughtful explanation of all the steps needed to qualify.

Photo by katerkate under Creative Commons license

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at