This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Electorate is Smarter than Politicians on Immigration Issues in US

I suppose that it is not really a surprise to learn that the American voting population is smarter than the politicians, but occasionally we have to be reminded of that. Here I reprint a blog post from my son, Greg Weeks, that provides good evidence:

Rasmussen has a new poll on gaining control of the border, and the question is a mess.
In terms of immigration legislation, which is more important - gaining control of the border or legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in the United States?    

Several problems here. First, "gaining control" isn't defined and on one has ever defined it. So many people will think it's more important, even though they're not sure what it is and it may not be possible. Second, the question clearly leads respondents to believe that border security and adjustment of status are mutually exclusive, when they're not. So if you read a news article saying 60% people want to control the border, be careful about what conclusions you take from that.

For example, a Republican polling firm, Tarrance, reports that the overwhelming majority of Republicans--even Tea Partiers--support a guest worker program.

The Wall Street Journal reporter sums up exactly what I've been writing on this blog for years.

The electorate seems to appreciate that foreign nationals fill niches in the workforce that help grow the U.S. economy -- and that giving these economic migrants more legal ways to enter the country means that fewer will come illegally. Could it be that voters have a more sophisticated understanding of human capital and labor markets than politicians give them credit for?

Absolutely. Americans are far less divided on this issue than many politicians would have you believe, and there is more support for common sense than the presidential primaries would suggest.

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