In support of this assertion, the Times was required not only to ignore the stunning defeat of this year's amnesty bill, but also to proffer provably absurd evidence. I dearly hope Democratic politicians continue to look to the Times as an accurate barometer of voter sentiment.
In addition to secret polls showing that "the majority of Americans" support "a path to citizenship for immigrants here illegally," the Times cited election results from 1994 and 2006 that directly contradict this thesis.
First, the Times raised former California Gov. Pete Wilson's "precipitous slide" in the polls after he supported Proposition 187 in 1994, which denied most taxpayer-supported services to illegal immigrants.
The problem with this example is that Proposition 187 was wildly popular with California voters.
Times reporter Michael Luo seems to be referring to the Times' own prediction of catastrophe for Proposition 187 -- not actual election results.
One week before Californians voted on Proposition 187 in 1994, B. Drummond Ayres Jr. reported in the Times that there had been "a sharp falloff in support for the proposition."
He said Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans and African-American ministers were coming out strongly against Proposition 187 and that "this outcry, along with the increasing opposition being voiced by liberals, civil libertarians and assorted national political figures" was having an effect.
And then Californians voted.
Proposition 187 passed in a landslide with a nearly 20-point margin -- a larger margin than Wilson got, incidentally. It was supported by two-thirds of white voters, half of black and Asian voters, and even one-third of Hispanic voters. It passed in every area of California, except San Francisco, a city where intoxicated gay men dressed as nuns performing sex acts on city streets is not considered unusual. In heavily Latino Los Angeles County, Proposition 187 passed with a 12-point margin.
I'm no campaign consultant, but I think Wilson's support for an off-the-charts popular initiative probably didn't hurt him.
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