Pa. Battleground Poll: Dems can win on immigration if the message is right | Friday Morning Coffee

Spoiler Alert: Don’t parrot GOP talking points. And sing from the same hymnal

April 22, 2022 7:16 am

Mexico–United States barrier at the border of Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, USA. The crosses represent migrants who died in the crossing attempt. Some identified, some not. Surveillance tower in the background. WikiMedia Commons Image by Tomascastelazo.

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

new poll of key 2022 battleground states offers Democrats a road map to victory among coveted Latino voters when it comes to immigration issues — if they’re willing to follow it.

The bottom line? When they talk about immigration, try sounding less Republican.

But to do that, Democrats are going to have to get past a couple of major messaging hurdles, the poll, commissioned by the advocacy group Immigration Hub, found.

Just three in 10 respondents told pollsters they know “very well” where President Joe Biden stands on immigration border issues, with a 6-point decline (from 75 percent to 69 percent) who say they “know well” where the Democratic White House stands on such issues.

In the meantime, more than two-thirds of voters (68 percent) in the battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin told pollsters they’re hearing negative messages about how Biden is handling immigration matters. Of that cohort, 42 percent said they were hearing “mostly negative” messages about Biden, while 26 percent said they were hearing a mix of positive and negative messages, according to the poll.

Just 17 percent told pollsters that they’re hearing “mostly positive” things about Biden’s job performance on immigration matters.

President Joe Biden talks on the phone with Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) following the Senate vote to pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, Aug. 10, 2021, in the Oval Office Dining Room of the White House. (Adam Schultz/Official White House Photo)

The Democratic White House has faced steady criticism over its handling of immigration matters, with some analysts saying his swift reversals on Trump-era policies (despite his promises to slow walk such changes) prompted a crisis at the nation’s southern border. Republicans have seized on it as one example of the White House’s policy failures.

On Thursday, the White House had to issue a hasty clarification after Biden apparently conflated Title 42, a pandemic-related expulsion policy that’s effectively paralyzed the nation’s asylum system and a mask mandate for public transportation that was struck down this week by a federal judge, Reuters and other news outlets reported.

DENVER, COLORADO – JULY 02: (L-R) Lupe Lopez, Amy Bautista 3 and Jose Louis Garcia at the #CloseTheCamps United We Dream, American Friends Service Committee, and Families Belong Together led protests across the country at members of Congress’s offices to demand the closure of inhumane immigrant detention centers that subject children and families to horrific conditions. Constituents delivered a letter asking the members to visit a detention facility this week, stop funding family detention and deportation, and use all their powers to close the camps on July 02, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Tom Cooper/Getty Images for Civic Action)

Thursday’s Immigration Hub poll stresses the need for coordinated communication as both the White House and Democrats look to hold their majorities on Capitol Hill.

“The key to winning the immigration debate for Democrats is not silence – it’s talking to voters about the progress they’ve made for immigrant communities and at the border after the previous administration wrecked our immigration system,” Beatriz Lopez, Immigration Hub’s chief political and communications officer, said in a statement.

Biden and Democrats “have a prime opportunity right now to show how their policy prescriptions are meeting the moment and voters’ vision for a better immigration system,” Lopez continued.

“Importantly, they must continue to deliver on key commitments such as protections for our nation’s undocumented immigrants which is good policy and good politics,” Lopez concluded/ This is the moment for Democrats to get out with their message and plans, not repeat divisive, counterintuitive Republican talking points.”

(Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

The poll maps out those policy prescriptions with:

  • 66 percent of voters giving a positive rating to “prioritizing keeping families together in all aspects of our approach to immigration,” including 60 percent of swing voters.
  • 66 percent of voters giving a positive rating to “creating a new, fair, and orderly process for those seeking asylum,” including 58 percent of swing voters.
  • 81 percent of voters giving a positive rating to “cracking down on illegal actions of cartels that cross our border and bring drugs like fentanyl into the United States,” including 74 percent of swing voters, and
  • 74 percent of voters giving a positive rating to “improving infrastructure at the border to modernize the way the border is managed,” including 70% of swing voters, pollsters found.

Matt Barreto, BSP Research President and Co-Founder who conducted the poll, also added, “While Latino voters are thinking about the economy, it is wrong to assume immigration issues are not important.”

“About one in every five Latino voters say immigration is the issue that will motivate their vote, and this group of voters could be the deciding factor in close elections,” Barreto continued. “Latino voters strongly support the steps taken by Democrats in Congress and blame Republicans for obstructing and blocking real progress on the immigration issue.”

The poll of 1,200 battleground state voters was conducted between March 3 and March 16, with a 500 voter oversample of of Latino voters in those states.

US Senate Candidates Collage
From left to right: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (Philadelphia Gay News photo collage).

Our Stuff.
Democratic U.S. Senate hopefuls U.S. Rep. Conor LambLt. Gov. John Fetterman, and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta faced questions for one hour in a contentious debate on Thursday night, Marley Parish reports.

U.S. House committees will probe election disinformation in Arizona, Florida, Ohio and Texas, Capital-Star Washington Reporter Jennifer Shutt writes.

Pennsylvania will receive an additional $19.3 million in federal funding to help residents cover their home energy costs, I report.

U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, D-3rd District, has floated a multi-pronged, multi-billion dollar program aimed at fighting Philadelphia’s epidemic of gun violence, our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune report.

En la Estrella-Capital: Los residentes de Pa. apoyan el aumento de fondos para parques y bosques. Y la tasa de desempleo de Pa. cayó al 4.9 por ciento en marzo.

coronavirus medical mask. protective mask for your desing, Wuhan Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV. concept top view
(c) sosiukin –

Philadelphia has lifted its indoor mask mandate – right after Mayor Jim Kenney defended it, the Inquirer reports.

A bus rapid-transit system linking downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland has moved closer to construction, the Post-Gazette reports.

The organization behind an after-school Satan Club will sue a York County school district after the local school board rejected its application to meet in a district building, PennLive reports.

A York County judge has heard oral arguments on an effort to remove York Mayor Michael Helfrich from office, the York Daily Record reports.

Officials in Emmaus, Pa., have sued the manufacturer of ‘Forever Chemicals,’ often referred to as PFAS chemicals, over local groundwater contamination, the Morning Call reports.

Two projects in Pittston and Hanover townships in Luzerne County each have received $1 million in infrastructure grants, the Citizens’ Voice reports.

You will not be shocked to learn that the first day of legal weed sales in New Jersey was a busy oneWHYY-FM has the details.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s greenhouse gas rule is set to be officially published, making Pennsylvania the first state to price carbonStateImpact Pennsylvania reports.

Erie City Council has been urged to make significant investments in city youthGoErie reports.

Democratic governor candidate Josh Shapiro has reiterated his support for presumptive running mate Austin Davis after a clash with LG hopeful Brian Sims over television ads, City & State Pa. reports.

PoliticsPA asks its readers who won Thursday’s Democratic Senate debate.

So what do you do if you don’t like your state Supreme Court’s anti-gerrymandering rulings? If you’re the Ohio GOP, you just ignore it, and you get away with it, Talking Points Memo reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

What Goes On
The desk is clear. Enjoy the silence.

Gov. Tom Wolf heads to Allentown this Friday morning for an 11 a.m. groundbreaking at the Da Vinci Science Center.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Megan Healey Augustine, in the office of Rep. Matt Bradford, and ex-PennLive guy, Ron Southwick, who both celebrate today. Advance best wishes go out to Natasha Lindstrom, of the Tribune-Review, who celebrates on Saturday. Congratulations all around, friends.

Heavy Rotation
We’ll go out this week with a bit of LCD Soundsystem, and a tune that’s particularly appropriate for our hybrid working life. Here’s ‘Daft Punk is Playing at My House.’ Because, for all anyone knows, they actually might be doing just that.

Friday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link
The baseball gods give, they take away. Baltimore dropped a 6-4 decision to Oakland on Thursday. Today’s a new day.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.