Plucking the pluckers.

A mostly political Weblog.
June 18 2007 8:14 AM

Plucking the Pluckers

Do liberals still care about low-wage workers?

(Continued from Page 10)

Within policy circles, immigration reform is viewed as vital, addressing both the growing demand for workers and the social costs of an illegal underclass. [E.A.]

Well, there's policy circles and there's policy circles. How does this sentence--not just biased, but amateurishly biased!--get into the Washington Post? You could just as well have written, in 2002:

Within policy circles, toppling Saddam Hussein by force is viewed as vital, addressing both the threat of weapons of mass destruction and the need to establish a new dynamic in the region.

I don't remember reading that one. ... P.S.: The next WaPo sentence, of course, is "The public also generally supports the idea." See below for why this is b.s.--or see Rasmussen and Gallup. ... P.P.S.: I'd never work for an organization that would botch a big story as thoroughly as the Washington Post Company's flagship has botched this year's immigration bill coverage! ... Oh, wait. 1:58 A.M.

Friday, June 8, 2007

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"Voters wanted an immigration deal": A quick word on those polls  MSM writers--e.g. Dan Balz--are using to suggest that the Senate thwarted the popular will in blocking "comprehensive immigration reform." I'd been puzzled myself by the consistent polls showing that a) the comprehensive bill itself was wildly unpopular,  yet b) --and these are the polls emphasized by the MSM--the controversial "earned legalization" planks, when they are described to voters, win majority approval.

But Mystery Pollster cleared it up for me. The key is the Gallup finding that only half of the public is paying much attention to the immigration debate. Those who are paying attention oppose the bill 30% to 11%, but 58 % "don't know enough to say."  On this basis, Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport calls those who oppose the bill a "vociferous minority"--apparently believing that if only more voters paid attention they'd endorse the bill, because when they're given the questions  describing various paths to citizenship for illegals who "have a job" and "pay back taxes," they mostly say yes.

The flaw in this "scientific research,"  MP points out, is that by Newport's own admission these are mainly voters who aren't paying attention and are hearing these terms for the first time, so "their reactions may vary greatly along with the text of the descriptions provided." If they react positively to loaded words like "job" and "pay taxes" when they first hear them, that's no guarantee that they'd endorse the Senate bill's provisions if they starting following them closely (and began to hear other terms, like "immediate legalization" and "sanctuary").

We simply don't know how the 58% would react if for some reason they started paying attention--though Gallup's own finding that those who are paying the most attention are the most lopsidedly (61% to 17%) opposed to the bill is hardly evidence that they'd support it. Indeed, when Gallup described to voters various alternatives, the most popular, at 42%, was "to require illegal immigrants to leave, to but allow them to return if they meet certain requirements over a period of time." That sounds a lot like--yikes--deportation, no?  Another 14% wanted flat deportation with no possibility of eventual return. 42+14=56.

Update: Matthew Yglesias talks about "[t]he objective social conditions militating in favor of reform." Wow, that brings back memories. ... 4:55 P.M. link  

Don't calm down: The White House says Bush is going to keep pushing the "grand bargain" in a Capitol Hill meeting next week.  This could mean he's planning a surge-like effort, or it could just be part of the gradual let-down-easy process in which he learns that it's not really about the amendments--the Senate is just not that into him. ...

P.S.: Sen. Salazar says the bill "may return in July,"  according to the Denver Post. Why? Because "'Failure on immigration reform is not an option.'"  ...

P.P.S.: At some point, won't the President and others involved (McCain, Lindsay Graham, Lott, etc.) realize that as long as they keep pushing the bill, even in the press, they keep the pain coming (even as they impress reporters with their bipartisan statesmanship)? As First Read points out, the big winner yesterday wasn't the conventional pick:

Oddly enough, the shelving of the immigration bill could actually help McCain. The less the issue is brought up, the better for McCain ... 

Right.  If the bill definitively dies, McCain might even collect those character points for sticking with his position. ... It's like the BMW Z4, which gets better-looking when you know that it flopped! [Can you pick an analogy that resonates with more than, say, three readers?--ed  I need to maintain my fragile coalition.]