My home State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is as blue a state as they come. Our entire congressional delegation is Democratic and Democrats control the state legistature. Democrats outnumber Republicans by 37%, the highest gap in any state (only the District of Columbia has a larger gap).
I have written before about how Rhode Island’s new Independent line Governor, Linc Chalfee, not only has revoked a prior Executive Order that state vendors utilize the E-verify program, but also has been trying to stymie other cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
The presumption that a true blue state like Rhode Island would be against immigration enforcement is contradicted by a Brown University poll, misleadingly released under the headline “Rhode Islanders deeply divided on immigrants and immigration policy.”
In fact, there is no deep divide; the poll shows strong majority support for an Arizona-style law. Here is the question and answer breakdown in the Brown poll:
“Are you aware of the illegal immigration law that was recently passed in Arizona? a) Yes, 71%; b) No, 29%.
How much do you support or oppose the approach that Arizona is taking on immigration? a) strongly support, 32%; b) somewhat support, 22%; c) neither support nor oppose, 10%; d) somewhat oppose, 14%; e) strongly oppose, 23%.”
So 54% strongly or somewhat support an Arizona-style law, while only 37% strongly or somewhat oppose such a law, and Brown spins that as the public being “deeply divided”?
In fact, the depth of that support is evidenced by the fact that Rhode Islanders are willing to increase taxes for enforcement:
“If the Arizona law were enacted in our state, how much would you support or oppose a tax increase to pay for additional police to enforce immigration law? a) strongly support/somewhat support, 54%; b) neither support nor oppose, 10%, c) somewhat oppose/ strongly oppose, 36%.”
The Providence Journal picked up on the spin, with an article headlined “Brown poll shows divide on immigration issues in RI.”
The conventnional wisdom is that a strong immigration policy is a losing proposition for Republicans. Really? Tell that to Democratic Rhode Island.