by Jim Nintzel
The New York Times looks at how Arizona's new immigration law is playing in political races across the states. The whole thing is worth a read here.
A look at California:
The decision on whether to support or oppose the law can have almost immediate political consequences. The latest evidence may be Meg Whitman’s declining fortunes.
For months, Ms. Whitman, the former chief executive of eBay, enjoyed a substantial lead over her principal rival for the Republican nomination for governor of California, Steve Poizner. But in recent weeks, she has seen her advantage slip significantly, in no small part because Mr. Poizner has hammered her on her opposition to the Arizona law.
Finding herself increasingly on the defensive on the issue, Ms Whitman even proclaims in a new advertisement: “I’m 100 percent against amnesty for illegal immigrants. Period.”
Nonetheless, a poll released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California showed her advantage falling 23 percentage points since March, down to 38 versus 29 percent for Mr. Poizner.
“The kindling has been lit in the states,” said Matthew Dowd, a political consultant from Texas who was the chief strategist for the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign.
”With immigration, the choices you have to make are hard, and most people in Washington don’t really like to make hard choices,” he added. “Hard choices are much more often made in the states.”
Democrats have their own problems with the issue. Some more left-leaning factions prefer a path to legal status for illegal immigrants without the tough enforcement
measures that Democrats in Congress have proposed.
But the divisions appear more acute among Republicans, some of whom fear that the party will become identified with punitive immigration laws at a time when Hispanics are a growing part of the electorate — particularly in emergent battleground states like Colorado and Nevada.
“I am a grandson of an Irish immigrant,” Mr. McDonnell of Virginia said in an e-mail message. “The Hispanic population in this country contributes to our culture, economic prosperity and quality of life.”