Immigration reform could be bonanza for Democrats
Democrats and cripple Republican prospects in many states they now win easily.
Beneath the philosophical debates about amnesty and border security, there are brass-tacks partisan calculations driving the thinking of lawmakers in both parties over comprehensive immigration reform, which in its current form offers a pathway to citizenship — and full voting rights — for a group of undocumented residents that roughly equals the population of Ohio, the nation’s seventh-largest state. If these people had been on the voting rolls in 2012 and voted along the same lines as other Hispanic voters did last fall, President Barack Obama’s relatively narrow victory last fall would have been considerably wider, a POLITICO analysis showed.
Key swing states that Obama fought tooth and nail to win — like Florida, Colorado and Nevada — would have been comfortably in his column. And the president would have come very close to winning Arizona.
Republican Mitt Romney, by contrast, would have lost the national popular vote by 7 percentage points, 53 percent to 46 percent, instead of the 4-point margin he lost by in 2012, and would have struggled even to stay competitive in GOP strongholds like Texas, which he won with 57 percent of the vote.
The analysis is based on U.S. Census and Pew Research Center estimates of illegal immigrant populations by state, and presidential exit polls showing how Obama and Romney performed among Latinos.