Nebraska poll finds people support immigration reform • Lame duck session's demands could help Farm Bill • Colorado town votes to ban fracking
It appears that the Republican party needs to shift its views on immigration — if only to keep up with its own members.
A new Omaha World-Herald poll of Nebraskans finds that most — 58 percent — favor allowing illegal immigrants who are working in the U.S. to keep their jobs and pursue a way to legal status.
Only 28 percent said illegal immigrants should be deported.
Republicans received few Hispanic votes in the last election, leading to some in the party to call for a new approach to immigration. In Nebraska, the World-Herald reports, one town (Fremont) already bans landlords from renting to illegal immigrants and politicians have been outspoken in their support for strong deportation laws. Joseph Morton writes:
That ordinance and some recent rhetoric from Nebraska politicians suggest the state is committed to a kick-’em-out policy toward illegal immigrants.
But The World-Herald Poll found otherwise, with half of Republicans and more than two-thirds of Democrats saying they would offer illegal immigrants a chance to stay and eventually apply for legal status…
University of Nebraska at Omaha political scientist Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado said he was not surprised at the results.
“My sentiment for a very long time is that if Nebraskans get to know and understand all the dynamics around immigration and its relationship to the economy that they would most likely be in favor of trying to … further integrate the Latino population into the mainstream,” he said.
John Hibbing, a noted University of Nebraska political scientist, said until now Nebraska politicians have benefited from taking strict anti-immigrant stands. But he said the polls suggested a different future.
“Maybe there’s greater support within the Republican Party for a more moderate view on immigration than we thought previously,” Hibbing said.
• A Farm Bill Boost — The AP notes that the Farm Bill could get a boost “if congressional leaders decide they need its spending cuts — including a small reduction in the $80-billion-a-year food stamps program — to make a deal for averting the ‘fiscal cliff.’”
The Farm Bill, as passed by the Senate in July, would save $23 billion over ten years; a House version passed out of committee would save $35 billion. Both savings will be needed if Congress wants to pass spending limits it imposed on itself.
• The Biggest Loser — Reporter Michael Owens of the Bristol (Virginia) Herald Courier surveyed the results of Tuesday’s election and wrote:
Rural America seems to be the big loser in a presidential election decided by the cities. As several swing states – including Virginia – demonstrated, the population centers voted heavily for the president while the rural areas picked the challenger.
• Anti-Fracking Vote — The citizens of Longmont, Colorado (near Boulder), voted Tuesday to ban hydraulic fracturing drilling within the city limits.
Gov. John Hickenlooper did not say whether he would challenge the legality of the ban, but the Denver Post sees only one conclusion:
As we’ve said before, we don’t see how a fracking ban can survive legal scrutiny given the fact that it is functionally equivalent to a ban on drilling and the Colorado Supreme Court has already said, in 1992, that a city can’t outlaw drilling. Greeley tried.
Now, perhaps Longmont can persuade the court that fracking represents such a dire health and safety threat to city residents that its ruling of 20 years ago should be superseded. But if so, city officials will have to make their case without the support of state health officials and regulators at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission — and for that matter without any federal agency endorsing such an alarming view of the practice.
It’s far more likely the court will reaffirm its previous position — that cities can’t just seize mineral rights when they feel like it, even if a majority of their citizens supports the action.
• How Tester Won Montana — Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, won Montana Tuesday. How? Mike Dennison of the Missoulian writes:
Tester lost in 40 of Montana’s 56 counties, but most of those are small, rural counties with relatively few voters.
In nearly all of Montana’s urban areas, he won and won big. In the counties that include Missoula, Butte, Bozeman, Helena and Great Falls, Tester piled up a 37,000-vote margin – including a whopping 17,500-vote victory in Missoula County.
Tester also won by more than 7,000 votes in counties with substantial Indian populations.
The only major population centers Rehberg won were Flathead and Ravalli counties, where he bested Tester by 11,300 votes.
Tester even beat Rehberg in the latter’s home county of Yellowstone, the state’s largest county – where Republicans must do well if they expect to win a statewide race.
• And Don’t Forget Gov. Bullock — Ditto. Another Democrat beat the odds and won in Montana Tuesday. Attorney General Steve Bullock narrowly defeated Republican Rick Hill to become the state’s next governor.
How’d he do it? The Missoulian’s Charles Johnson writes:
Bullock won only 12 of the state’s 56 counties, but some of the ones that counted most. He racked up a lead of more than 37,000 votes over Hill by capturing the counties that take in Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena and Missoula.
And Bullock lost by less than 1,000 votes in Yellowstone County, the state’s most populous county that incudes Billings, out of more than 69,000 cast.
“Your goal as a Democrat is to always to come out close in Yellowstone County,” Parker said.
Bullock also registered a nearly 5,000-vote margin in five heavily Native American counties.
The Republican won 44 of 56 counties, but not nearly enough of those that are the most populous.