Pollster Zogby: Immigration Discharge Petition a 'Game of Chess'

Friday, 28 Mar 2014 04:17 PM

By Lisa Barron

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Veteran pollster John Zogby says he doubts targeted House Republicans will sign an immigration discharge petition on a Democratic-backed immigration bill.

"I would tend to doubt it, however, because there is a fear of the tea party movement itself targeting people who are not part of their agenda and if there's any tilt towards immigration reform by some of these prominent Republicans or something that gives them an out in November, they're going to be ousted by the tea party in their districts and in their state," he told Newsmax TV's J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" Friday.

Those Republicans will be in a tough position of deciding which pressure to bow to, Zogby said.

"This is all about wedge issues and also about cover for congressmen to be able to say, 'on the one hand, I said that I was for this, but on the other hand, I was for that.' I don't know that they're going to bow to pressure from the AFL-CIO. I don't know that the strategy on either side is anything but short term and highly targeted. It's a game of chess, is what it is, a game of chess, though, where the pawns have hammers, in this case, the special interest groups," he said.

Zogby said GOP leadership is trying to make sure it maintains establishment support to keep the tea party from offering primary challenges.

"The House of Representatives is fairly safe, unless there's some sort of a wave between now and then that causes a Democratic sweep," he said. "But with that said, Republicans have an internal problem and it's a bitter one. They used to say about the Democrats that when they formed the firing squad, they did it in a circle, and you're seeing that as well on the Republican side.

The final decisions will come down to the demographics of individual districts, Zogby said.

"Ultimately, when I'm running for re-election, it's all about 'who's in my district, who are the most intense voters, is there a reason for any of those voters to come out either to vote against me or my base to not show up and vote at all? And what's the local newspaper going to do? Am I going to wake up every morning and have headlines, headlines, headlines, headlines hammering me, hammering me, hammering me?' Those are the considerations that these guys and gals ultimately have to face."

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