Pollster Emily Ekins said on Friday that the Republican Party is divided about whether softening its stance on immigration would attract new voters into its fold.
“Would they vote Republican if Republicans softened their tone on immigration or are they going to vote Democratic for other reasons?” Ekins told Hill.TV’s Jamal Simmons on “What America’s Thinking.”
“Some people say that if you just soften your tone on immigration, we can invite lots of new voters into the Republican Party, and others say no,” she continued.
“The Ann Coulter wing will say ‘no, there’s nothing that you can do to change these voters’ minds, so just clamp down. Shut the border down,” she added.
Ekins said that President Trump will make it more difficult for the GOP to attract immigrants ahead of the upcoming midterm and presidential elections.
“With Donald Trump as the president, it’s going to be very hard for Republicans to convince new voters, particularly those who are first, second, or third generation Americans, who are close to the immigrant experience, to come vote for the Republican said,” she said.
Ekins added that there was also a divide within the GOP on border security, citing Trump’s travel ban on various majority Muslim countries.
“Some people, they have cooler feelings towards immigrants in general. They’re not just concerned about illegal immigration, they’re worried about legal immigration too. That’s kind of the American preservationist,” she said, referencing a recent Democracy Fund Voter Study Group
“Then there’s some other folks, like in the anti-elite group, free marketeer group, that seem to be a little bit more concerned about immigration from a national security perspective. So we did see them supporting the temporary travel ban on Muslims entering the U.S., but they did so tentatively,” she said, adding that the “American preservationists” and staunch conservatives strongly supported the measure.