GOP Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, one of four swing state senators vulnerable in 2016.
New Public Policy Polling shows that four Republican swing state senators are in deep water with voters over the GOP’s attempt
to tack on anti-immigrant measures to a bill to fund Homeland Security.
Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Rob Portman of Ohio, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin have all placed themselves in political peril with their votes to make Department of Homeland Security funding contingent on a rollback of President Obama’s immigration actions in 2012 and 2014.
"These four in particular in the Republican party are literally playing with political dynamite," said Brad Woodhouse of American Bridge.
All four GOP senators were elected in the tea party wave of 2010 and each of them is vulnerable in 2016, with approval ratings hovering in the 30s. About a third of voters "approve" of the way they are handling their jobs, a third "disapprove," and a third have "no opinion."
As Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen noted, that's about where North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan started out in 2012. Things didn't turn out too well for her for in 2014.
But the "no opinion" third is particularly important because they can be swayed either way over the next two years. And voters in the four states are not impressed with the GOP tactic of tying immigration policy to DHS funding.
First, President Obama's immigration policies are very popular in all four states, especially Illinois (Kirk) and Wisconsin (Johnson), where more voters support the policies than don't support it by about a 30-point margin. Additionally, in all four states, independents favor Obama's immigration policies by double digits.
Second, there's very little support for tying DHS funding to immigration policy.
Funding for the Department of Homeland Security runs out at the end of this month and Republicans still have no solution. The House GOP's crazy caucus is insisting
that the Senate pass their anti-immigrant bill to fund DHS. This poll shows exactly why Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be a fool to make his caucus vote on its passage (so far, they've only voted on a motion to proceed to debate). Unless he doesn't like being majority leader.