Lou Dobbs claimed on his radio show that "illegal immigration" is among "the top three issues for American voters in both political parties." In fact, no recent polls support Dobbs' assertion that "voters in both political parties" consider illegal immigration "one of the top three issues," although some polls indicate that immigration is among the top issues for Republican voters.
On the March 10 edition of his radio program, The Lou Dobbs Show, Lou Dobbs claimed that the issue of "illegal immigration," which he grouped together with "border security" and "port security," is among "the top three issues for American voters in both political parties." In fact, while some recent polls have indicated that immigration is one of the top three issues for Republican voters, no recent polls support Dobbs' assertion that illegal immigration is among the "top three" issues for Democratic voters or for voters as a whole. Dobbs also alleged that "you wouldn't know" that illegal immigration was such an important issue from "listening to Senator [Barack] Obama, Senator [John] McCain, or Senator [Hillary] Clinton right now." However, both Clinton and Obama have stressed the importance of the immigration issue in recent months.
Six different polls conducted since January asked respondents to name the issues most important to them, and not one indicated that illegal immigration was in the top three among voters as a whole:
- In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted February 20-24, 4 percent of respondents cited "immigration" as the most important problem facing the country today. The most frequently cited issues of concern were the "economy" (29 percent) and "war" (15 percent). Respondents named four other issues ("health care," "Iraq," "terrorism general," and "other") as more important than illegal immigration.
- A DIAGEO/The Hotline poll conducted February 14-17 also found that 4 percent of respondents cited "immigration/illegal aliens" as "the most important issue facing the US today." The top three issues were the "economy in general" (39 percent), "war in Iraq -- oppose" (7 percent), and "fear of war/feelings of fear in this country" (6 percent).
- In a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll conducted January 30-31, 7 percent of respondents cited "immigration" as the most important issue in deciding their vote for president. The top issues were the "economy and jobs" (30 percent), "war in Iraq" (23 percent), and "terrorism and national security" (10 percent).
- In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted January 20-22, 10 percent of respondents indicated that "illegal immigration" should be the federal government's top priority. "Job creation and economic growth" (26 percent), "the war in Iraq" (17 percent), and "health care" (17 percent) were the top three issues.
- In a CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted January 14-17, 31 percent of respondents said that "illegal immigration" would be an "extremely important" issue to their vote for president. The three top issues were "the economy" (45 percent), the "situation in Iraq" (43 percent), and "terrorism" (42 percent). "Health care," "gas prices," and "the situation in Iran" also were cited more frequently than illegal immigration as "extremely important."
- In an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted January 9-12, 4 percent of respondents cited "immigration/illegal immigration" as "the single most important issue" in their choice for president. The three most important issues were the "economy/jobs" (29 percent), "Iraq/war in Iraq" (20 percent), and "health care" (10 percent).
The following recent polls have indicated that Republican voters place immigration among the top three most important issues (or tied for third), but Democratic voters do not: the February 14-17 DIAGEO/The Hotline poll, the January 30-31 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll, and a Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll conducted January 18-22. A CBS News/New York Times poll conducted January 9-12 found that immigration was the third-most important issue for Republican respondents; the poll did not ask Democratic voters to express their view on the topic.
Moreover, both Clinton and Obama recently stressed their support for comprehensive immigration reform during the Democratic presidential debate in Austin, Texas, on February 21.
From the March 10 edition of United Stations Radio Networks' The Lou Dobbs Show:
DOBBS: One of the issues of this presidential election campaign year, of course, is illegal immigration, border security, port security. Now, you wouldn't know that listening to Senator Obama, Senator McCain, or Senator Clinton right now, or, for that matter, Ralph Nader, the independent candidate. But the reality is that it is one of the top three issues for American voters in both political parties. And there are all sorts of writers on the left -- I will just describe them that way -- left-wing, not necessarily radical, but including radicals, but left-wing, liberal Democrats, and on the right, right-wing, conservative bloggers of all sorts, aligned with, of all people, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- the business roundtable.
And they're trying to suggest that you forget about the issue of illegal immigration, suggest you forget about the issue of border security, port security, you know, the war on drugs, the fact that most -- nearly all -- methamphetamines, most marijuana, most cocaine, most of the heroin entering this country originates in Mexico. They wouldn't want you to think about that when we talk about border security. They wouldn't want you to think about the fact that right now the illegal immigrant population in this country is at its highest level ever. In fact, one in 25 residents now living in the United States is here illegally.