Republicans in Swing Districts Damaged by Inaction on Immigration

Republicans badly damaged in swing districts by lack of immigration reform.

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 23, 2013, before a House Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security hearing.
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As Republican leaders in the House of Representatives appear resigned to let a bipartisan immigration bill slide off of their to-do list in 2013, a new poll suggests leaders might want to rethink that plan.

Republican pollster Jon Lerner and his team at Basswood Research released a poll Tuesday showing that in 20 Republican-controlled swing districts, voters overwhelmingly want their members of Congress to hammer out a deal on immigration reform and to do it fast.

[READ: Immigration Reform Boosts Economic Recovery]

The poll shows that more than 70 percent of voters supported a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, 80 percent approved of implementing a better electronic worker verification system and 78 percent supported passing a DREAM Act, legislation that would allow young adults who were brought to the country as children a chance at citizenship.

In California, the poll shows that Republican Rep. Jeff Denham and Rep. David Valadao are among the most vulnerable lawmakers. The longer the House waits to vote on an immigration package, the tougher their re-election could become.

Sensing their vulnerability, both Denham and Valadao signed onto the Democratic-drafted immigration bill in October that would put many immigrants who are in the country illegally on a path to citizenship.

Even tea party food stamp crusader Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., who is also cited as endangered in the poll, has softened his stance on immigration reform after encountering a young immigrant at a town hall.

[READ: Business, Faith and Silicon Valley Leaders to Pepper House on Immigration]

It's not just immigration, however, that has voters reconsidering their elected officials. The poll found that the Republican brand as a whole is increasingly damaged in swing districts.

The poll showed that voters in the 20 swing districts were frustrated with President Barack Obama. Only 41 percent of voters approved of his job performance and 34 percent approved of congressional Democrats. But voters in the GOP swing districts are irrefutably tired of Republicans back in Washington. Only 27 percent approve of them.

The poll of 1,000 adults was taken between Nov. 2, 2013 and Nov. 3, 2013 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

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