Left's oddsmaker FiveThirtyEight sees grim prospects for DACA

Contrary to the general triumphalism of the left with its focus on owning the Latino vote, lefty oddsmaker Nate Silver sees quite a few strikes against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals passing.

Not because Trump is a racist monster or any of the other knee-jerk explanations coming from the leftside, but because polls that claim DACA is popular don't tell the real story.

DACA may be popular, even among some Republicans, but hardline immigration policy has been growing as an animating force in GOP politics for years. It helped put Trump in the White House.

Helped put Trump in the White House? Well, yes, in some quarters, that's called winning.

In any case, FiveThirtyEight does have some interesting insights on why the polls aren't particularly useful in measuring how the public really thinks about illegal immigration.

During policy debates, we sometimes become too focused on individual questions instead of looking at the broader public view. On the issue of gun control, for example, Democrats have liked to point out that background checks have near universal support. Yet, Congress has repeatedly failed to pass a background check bill. Part of the reason: Background checks may poll well, but gun control as a general concept is less popular. Similarly, Republicans tend to poll evenly with Democrats on which party “would do a better job of dealing with” gun policy. In other words, gun policy divides voters along normal partisan lines, making it unlikely that Republicans would be punished for sticking to their position on a specific policy question within that issue.

Immigration is similar to guns in that the Democratic position on many specific immigration policy questions is more popular than the Republican position, but Republicans hold their own on immigration more generally. Much of Trump’s immigration agenda doesn’t poll well: For instance, there isn’t broad support for building a border wall with Mexico, limiting legal immigration or ending DACA. However, recent surveys from George Washington University and Morning Consult found that Democrats and Republicans tend to poll evenly when it comes to which party is trusted more to handle immigration.

The lefty website also notes that Republicans are more animated by the issue than Democrats and this isn't lost on Republicans. This means they probably won't pay a price if nothing is done on DACA over the next six months and the program is left to lapse, but they could suffer in the polls, and face primary challenges - from challengers with hardline immigration stances that historically win - if an amnesty program is put into place, due to the energized political base.

With all that in place, and Republican congressional leaders intensely aware of it, it's quite possible they will do nothing on their side and throw it back to Trump, FiveThirtyEight notes. If so, it would negate Trump's effort to throw the hot potato to them, and put the pressure back on the president who has tweeted he would 'revisit' the issue if Congress couldn't come up with anything. They may just take him up on it.

FiveThirtyEight's record of prognostications is hardly perfect but it's as good an analysis as any on how the DACA drama will go, showing well that its prospects aren't pretty.



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