Thursday, April 26, 2012

Majority of voters favor Arizona immigration law

By a more than two-to-one margin, American voters favor the 2010 Arizona immigration law. A Fox News poll released Friday shows 65 percent of voters favor the controversial law, while 31 percent oppose it.

Eighty-four percent of Republicans favor Arizona’s law, while 46 percent of Democrats do. A 51-percent majority of Democrats opposes the law.

Independents favor the law by a 40 percentage-point margin (67-27 percent). That’s good news for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has said he thinks Arizona’s law would be a good model for the rest of the country.

The Arizona law took effect in July 2010. It makes illegal immigration a state crime and allows local law enforcement to question the legal status of anyone stopped on suspicion of a crime and detain anyone who cannot prove his or her immigration status. 

The Justice Department filed suit challenging it, and the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments next Wednesday on whether many of the law’s key provisions are constitutional.

Voters who live in the West (72 percent) and the Midwest (69 percent) are more likely than those living in other regions (61 percent) to approve of the Arizona law.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 910 randomly-chosen registered voters nationwide and is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from April 9-11.  For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. 


Marine Le Pen is no conservative

Her concern about immigration is realistic but her other policies are simply populist

Are the French getting their Tea Party on? That's what an outsider looking at the country's first-round presidential voting results might have been led to believe. But, as with many things French, the reality is très compliquée.

The weekend vote knocked out all but the two candidates long expected to square off in the May 6 final: Socialist Francois Hollande (28.6 percent) and incumbent center-right President Nicolas Sarkozy (27.2 percent). This isn't the story, though. The most striking news is the 17.9 percent score by Marine Le Pen's National Front party. That's even better than her father Jean-Marie's best showing of 16.9 percent when he shockingly knocked out the Socialist candidate in the first round of the 2002 race to face incumbent President Jacques Chirac in the final.

What's behind Le Pen's surprising showing? What sentiment is she capturing, exactly? Who are her supporters?

It's precisely the attempt to marginalize people who don't adhere to the increasingly prevalent culturally Marxist views that drives them to seek out and support democratic entities (like Le Pen's National Front party) that accord them a proper public voice. That's how it's done in civil societies. Where's the alarmism in that? If dialogue around these issues is quashed or marginalized, the parties championing these concerns will serve as pressure valves and grow in popularity. This partly explains the National Front's record electoral figure -- but it's not the whole story.

It would be a mistake to think that the "far right" in France stands for limited government and a free market. The National Front rails against decentralization, advocates a strong federal government, and complains that European legislation forces competitive trade and prevents the French government from financially assisting companies, thereby inhibiting "economic patriotism."

Sounds more like Russia than the Tea Party, doesn't it? Under the National Front's political tent, one finds a political buffet consisting of far more than just a righteous battle against cultural Marxism and population replacement. There's something for nationalists, socialists, protectionists and anti-elitists -- everything but a significant helping of free market and limited government.

When Le Pen denounces Sarkozy's "ultra-liberalism," she isn't talking about leftism. In Europe, "liberalism" isn't synonymous with "leftism" as it is in America. Rather, it refers to the kind of classical liberalism prevalent in 19th century America and incarnated by the likes of right-libertarian heroes Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek. As a free-market, limited-government conservative who once served as a Republican think-tank director, I'm typically considered a "liberal" in France.

So, how many people within Le Pen's party adhere to politics similar enough to mine that they'll vote for Sarkozy in the final round? Based on various analyses, I'd wager no more than about half, with the rest supporting the Socialist. One might even argue that because former Trotskyite Jean Luc Mélenchon did worse than expected and the Socialist scored precisely as expected, Le Pen's "far right" party scooped up some nanny-state Communists in the first round. (Try reading that last sentence again without your brain exploding.)

Blaise Pascal once said, in adapting a famous Montesquieu quote, "Truth on one side of the Pyrenees is error on the other." It's a fitting adage as Americans try to make sense of the politics at play behind this dramatic French electoral spectacle.


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