Almost all of Ohio's leading newspapers ignored a new poll showing that Ohioans overwhelmingly support action on immigration reform, even as House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced a decision on November 13 that effectively reduced any chances at reform this year.
A poll conducted by Harper Polling on behalf of three pro-reform organizations -- including one that counts News Corp (Fox News' parent company) president Rupert Murdoch as a co-chairman, and another that exclusively supports GOP candidates -- found that 74 percent of Ohio residents surveyed feel the immigration system is broken and that another 72 percent support an immigration proposal with a path to citizenship. The poll also found that 68 percent of respondents support a plan that would grant legal status to undocumented immigrants and citizenship to those who were brought to the country illegally as children.
On November 13, the Cleveland Plain Dealer was the only major daily Ohio newspaper to report these findings, despite Boehner's pronouncement that day that he would refuse to allow negotiations between the House and the Senate on an immigration reform bill. As the Washington Post noted, the decision dealt "a significant blow to the prospects of comprehensive immigration reform by this Congress."
But several of the other major Ohio newspapers -- including The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Dayton Daily News, The Columbus Dispatch, The Toledo Blade, and The Akron Beacon Journal -- failed to cover the poll. As the Plain Dealer article explained, the poll should be a warning sign for Ohio's representatives, all of whom are up for re-election and 12 of whom are Republicans:
President Barack Obama has called for Congress to act on immigration reform this year. But there has been resistance, particularly from Republicans in the House of Representatives.
The poll, released this week, found strong support among Republican, Democrat and independent voters for reform proposals and in each of the three groups more than 67 percent of the respondents said changes should be enacted this year.
Respondents indicated that a candidate's position on immigration reform would affect their support. Forty-nine percent said they would be more likely to support an elected official if they had voted for immigration reform. Conversely, 48 percent said they would be more likely to oppose a candidate who had opposed reform.
All 16 congressional seats in Ohio will be up for election in 2014. Republicans presently control 12 of those seats.
Although many in conservative media have begun to take a victory lap over immigration reform's latest setback -- after months of misinforming the public about the immigration reform effort and calling for GOP obstruction -- this poll, along with several others from various sources, shows that immigration reform is not only popular, it could have serious effects on the political prospects of many candidates in the 2014 election.