As the immigration reform issue continues to create controversy among Washington’s lawmakers, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has released a report on the likely partisan consequences of continued mass immigration.
For the purpose of the study, James G. Gimpel, a professor of government at the University of Maryland, College Park, examined the Republican share of the vote and the foreign-born share of the population over three decades in all U.S. counties.
In his report for CIS entitled “Immigration, Political Realignment and the Demise of Republican Political Prospects,” he revealed that the electoral impact of immigration has been greatest in counties with large populations, where most immigrants settle. In these locations, Republicans have lost 0.58 percentage points in presidential elections for every one percentage-point increase in the size of the local immigrant population.
In fact, among counties with at least 50,000 residents, where the immigrant share increased by at least two percentage points from 1980 to 2008, a total of 62 percent saw a decline in the Republican percentage. In counties with at least a six percentage-point gain in the immigrant share, approximately 83 percent saw a decline in the GOP vote share.
However, Republicans have remained competitive in presidential elections because losses in high-immigration counties have been offset by gains in low-immigration counties, the report also found.