State Watch

Almost 9 in 10 Republicans approve of GOP governors sending migrants to Democratic areas: poll

Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette via AP
A woman, who is part of a group of immigrants that had just arrived, holds a child as they are fed outside St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Wednesday Sept. 14, 2022, in Edgartown, Mass., on Martha’s Vineyard. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday flew two planes of immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, escalating a tactic by Republican governors to draw attention to what they consider to be the Biden administration’s failed border policies. (Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette via AP)

Nearly 9 in 10 Republicans said they approve of the efforts by some GOP governors to send migrants who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border to Democratic-led cities elsewhere, according to CBS News’s Battleground Tracker released Monday.  

The poll found that 87 percent of likely Republican voters approved of the move, compared to just 20 percent of Democrats and 48 percent of independents. Meanwhile, 80 percent of Democrats disapprove of the tactic, compared to 13 percent of Republicans.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) earlier this month caused an uproar when he chartered flights to take nearly 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. The move infuriated Democrats, who accused DeSantis of taking advantage of the migrants for a political stunt, and made even some Republicans privately uneasy.

DeSantis is widely considered a possible 2024 GOP presidential contender and has been building a national profile on hot-button issues that include immigration.

He has defended the flights as “clearly voluntary” and told Fox News’s Sean Hannity last week that areas like Martha’s Vineyard “said they wanted this, they said they were a sanctuary jurisdiction.”

But DeSantis isn’t the first governor to send migrants to more liberal states. He and the Republican governors of Texas and Arizona have together sent more than 13,000 migrants by bus and by air to liberal-led Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago and Martha’s Vineyard.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has led the charge, sending buses of migrants north since the spring in protest against the Biden administration’s immigration policies. Buses sent from Texas dropped more than 100 migrants off in front of Vice President Harris’s D.C. residence earlier this month. 

Among those in the CBS poll who approved of the GOP governors’ actions, 88 percent said moving the migrants “draws attention to the issue” and 80 percent said it “forces other states to handle the issue.”  

Sixty percent of those approving said it was an “effective way to handle illegal immigration” and less than half, or 44 percent, thought it was helpful to the migrants. 

Eighty-six percent of Republicans said immigration was a “very important” factor in their vote for Congress, while just 40 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of independents said the same. 

A recent Politico-Morning Consult poll had found voters nearly tied in their opinions of whether the effort is appropriate or not. 

The Battleground Tracker was conducted Sept. 21-23 among 2,253 registered voters, and results on the approval of the GOP governors’ migrant transport and the importance of immigration to congressional vote had margins of error of plus or minus 2.3 and 2.8 percentage points, respectively. Results about the reasons voters approved of governors’ actions had a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.  

Tags Arizona Chicago DeS DeSantis Doug Ducey Florida Florida migrants Greg Abbott Greg Abbott immigration Martha's Vineyard migrants New York City Ron DeSantis Texas Washington D.C.
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