Maybe Eric Cantor Didn’t Lose Because of Immigration Reform After All


The conventional wisdom says that Eric Cantor lost his primary race last night because he was soft on immigration. But a PPP poll suggests that’s not really the case:

About 72 percent of registered voters in Cantor’s district polled on Tuesday said they either “strongly” or “somewhat” support immigration reform that would secure the borders, block employers from hiring those here illegally, and allow undocumented residents without criminal backgrounds to gain legal status….Looking just at Republicans in Cantor’s district, the poll found that 70 percent of GOP registered voters would support such a plan, while 27 percent would oppose.

Now, “registered voters” is not the same thing as “people who actually bothered to vote in a primary.” And things like question wording can have an outsized impact on questions like this.

Still, even after months of anti-immigration blathering from talking heads, it still probably wasn’t a big deal to more than about half the primary voters in Cantor’s district. And despite the demagoguery from these talking heads, it’s not as if Cantor was really all that soft on immigration. The worst you could honestly say about him on the subject is that he occasionally made a few noises suggesting that maybe a deal could be had if only Democrats would be reasonable. This is boilerplate stuff for Republican leaders, and we all know what it means: no deal is possible and it’s all the fault of the Democrats.

In any case, there are a zillion theories about why Cantor really lost, and I’m not taking sides. But at the very least, immigration appears to be less of a factor than it seems on the surface.

Not that it matters. Immigration reform has been dead for months, and now it’s still dead. Nothing has changed.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate