Democrats are quaking in their boots over yesterday's poll showing that a majority of Americans supported Arizona's harsh new immigration law. The numbers—which are even worse in battleground states than they are nationally—indicate that while immigration hawkishness may someday come back to bite Republicans, it's a big advantage this year, Jonathan Martin of Politico concludes. While Democrats tend to oppose the law, independents are siding with Republicans in supporting it.
That leaves battleground state Democrats facing yet another issue where their base is split with the broader electorate. Their best bet is to avoid the issue if possible, and highlight any hawk credentials they have. Of course, Republicans could be blamed for not passing reform under Bush, but they think they can pin the issue on Obama. “Democrats spent 15 months trying to ram through” health care, said an party spokesman, “and, in so doing, neglected ... border security.”